The term psychological profiling comes to mind when we assess the system that Google uses to determine the best advertising to offer its users. In short, Google creates a demographic profile of the user, sends the data to it’s AdSense advertising service and uses it to display advertising targeted to the users specific profile.
Some critics of the system of cookies , which this profiling is based on, took the issue to the European Union, which is still pending on whether or not there will be a solution, perhaps somewhere halfway between privacy and publicity . The only certainty is that the navigation data is stored, and on occasion could leave you uncomfortable if you are not alone in front of the screen when unwanted advertisements start showing up based on last nights search history.
Visit http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/ and check which categories are used to display your search. Do you recognize these groups and do they correspond to the websites you’ve been visiting lately? Delete one by one all the categories you want to get rid of, especially ones you may not want others to see in the form of related ad content. Next, we must also disable the tracking service which is offered by the search engine itself.
It is important to note that this system is activated in the browser you are using, and for full privacy you must perform these steps on every browser you have installed on your computer, smartphone or mobile phone. Google has made it clear they only use this information for targeted advertising and nothing else, but this is something you should take into account if you don’t want that data to be saved, or prefer a more private browsing experience.
If you really want to push your privacy to the next level, you may want to check out Startpage. The unique search engine uses the Google system, but loads your search results via a private, secured server without storing any search data.
Although we often don’t have any say in this matter, and most people don’t even bother knowing about it, it’s important to understand we have a choice. Remember, we can’t expect anyone else to respect our privacy if we ourselves are are not taking the proper steps to maintain anonymity.
We want to hear what you think… Is Google taking it too far by storing information about our browsing habits? Or are we taking it too far by acting like we have something to hide?