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Google search and Gmail users can block advertisers

Gives a little power to the people
Tue Nov 01 2011, 14:04

ADVERTISING BROKER Google will allow its search and Gmail users to block advertisers.

Google's existence depends on its ability to flog adverts but the firm claims it wanted to give its users more transparency on why certain advertisements are displayed. Google also mentioned that users will be able to block particular advertisers through its Ads Preferences Manager.

The company's success came from serving up personalised, targeted advertising to its users. The problem for Google is that web users are starting to realise that in order to provide personalised, relevant adverts the firm needs to know a great deal of information about the viewer. Google's image as a firm that takes data privacy seriously is vital to its successful operation.

Google is also rolling out "Why these ads" links on adverts to try to explain to users why a particular advert was displayed to them. We are pretty sure that "because our advertisers pay us megabucks to do so" won't be on the list of explanations provided by Google.

While Google's gift of being able to block advertisers might sound like a good way of giving power back to the user, in reality the firm is simply adding to the database of knowledge it has on the user. If it knows the user doesn't want to see adverts from a certain company, it won't waste its resources loading the advert in the first place.

Being fair to Google, its advertising is discreet and does enable users to access the majority of its services for the price of giving up some information about their online viewing habits. Now, users can tweak what adverts they choose to ignore on both web search and Gmail. µ


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