Google announces new interest-based targeting of online ads

Advertising online is one of those necessary evils like ads on TV than many of us sit through every day. The ads help pay for the sites we like to visit online and without ads the sites may not be able to operate. The problem with ads is that some of the tactics that advertisers use to track what internet users are doing online are often intrusive and worrisome.

Google has published a post on its official blog that outlines a new way it hopes to make ads more relevant and useful for web surfers and more profitable for it and its advertising partners. With the new ad system, Google will let web surfers pick categories of interest and then associate those interests with the browser.

Using this method to target advertising users would see more relevant ads rather than simply getting ads based on keywords associated with a search or the content on a specific page. For instance, an avid runner on a pharmacy website looking for an ankle brace would be much more interested in getting ads for running shoes on the pharmacy site rather than ads for discount medications.

Google is terming the new plan "interest-based" advertising. Susan Wojcicki from Google writes in the post, "Today we are launching "interest-based" advertising as a beta test on our partner sites and on YouTube. These ads will associate categories of interest — say sports, gardening, cars, pets — with your browser, based on the types of sites you visit and the pages you view. We may then use those interest categories to show you more relevant text and display ads."

Internet users can opt out of this interest-based advertising by allowing Google to put a cookie on their computer. However, one issue sure to raise the ire of privacy advocates is that users who are against cookies being stored on their computer often clear their cookies frequently. That would mean each time cookies are cleared, Google would again be able to serve the new ads to the browser. To get around this issue, Google is offering a browser plug-in for Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Back in 2007 Google tried a new type of ad called the gadget ad in an attempt to make more interesting advertisements that users would interact with, which never took off as planned.

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference
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