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Google now lets users customize ads on Search and YouTube

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By John Glenday | Reporter

May 12, 2022 | 3 min read

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Google is swinging the pendulum back in favor of the user for advertising carried on its services as it seeks to double down on its personalization offering.

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Google permits customizable ads on search and YouTube

A new widget will drop later in the year that will hand back control to individuals over what ads appear where across the full family of Google’s apps and websites from Search to YouTube.

Embracing the internet giant’s pursuit of simplicity, the three-dot menu system acts as a one-stop-shop for managing commercial interactions and facilitating actions such as liking, sharing, blocking or reporting content, as well as offering a deeper dive into who is funding specific adverts and what targeting metrics they employ.

Tick-box menus permit individuals to approve and block entire categories of content with a single click. On the flip side, favored brands can also be named to ensure you never miss out on an appropriate deal. This zero-party data could help web users make the ads they see more relevant.

Sensitive advertising categories such as alcohol, gambling and abortion are also covered, with users able to permit or limit their exposure in the same fashion.

Ad-phobic internet users will also wield the power to inform Google directly of their wishes through the use of embedded tools or by frequenting a dedicated My Ad Center hub.

Google’s director of Ads Privacy and Trust David Temkin said: “We see personalized ads as valuable and useful – just like personalized movie recommendations, personalized news recommendations [and] personalized commerce recommendations.”

Intended to boost transparency and address data protection concerns, the more flexible approach doesn’t extend to the Google Display Network, which remains off-limits for tinkering in this manner.

Google’s moves follow an antitrust complaint centered on its adtech system, which raised questions over its ad auction mechanics, header bidding and access to third-party data.

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