Everyone knows that Google can dodge privacy features in Internet browsers, renounce third-party cookie policies, and supply personalized ads despite a user’s privacy setting. Privacy regulators, advocates and consumers alike have called upon Google and other advertising companies to abide by browser’s do-not-track policies, but Google already stepped to the plate with a solution for suspicious users that do not want to be tracked.
“Keep My Opt Outs” is a Chrome browser extension that blocks all cookies harvested for personalized ads. The evasive cookies under fire in the media essentially follow a user’s trail across websites to collect history for data reaping. The particulars help Google supply targeted advertisements. All Web browsers include a built-in setting to block this information-cropping process, but Google and other firms use a distinct code to disable the setting in Safari and Internet Explorer.
“Keep My Opt-Outs is an extension for users who aren’t comfortable with personalization of the ads they see on the web. It’s a one-step, persistent opt-out of personalized advertising and related data tracking performed by companies adopting the industry privacy standards for online advertising,” wrote Google on the Chrome webstore…
Google’s extension has a 4.5-star rating based on 421 reviews as of press time. It currently has nearly 150,000 users, but it was last updated Oct. 21, 2011.
“We recognize that some users are uncomfortable with the personalization of ads that they see on the web and we offer many levels of control over this personalization. Two years ago we launched two ground-breaking innovations, the Ads Preferences Manager and the industry’s first persistent cookie opt-out. Now we’re giving users who don’t want their ads personalized the same permanent, one-click control for advertising-related cookies across our industry,” Google explained.
Google, however, did mention the “downsides” to installing the extension. The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company repeatedly mentioned that without a cookie, advertisements on the Internet will be “less relevant and diverse.” The search engine giant also noted the result might equal less profitable marketing for a user’s favorite websites.
Keep My Opt-Outs works on OS X and Windows computers, but the current version is for the United States only. Google plans to include cookie opt-outs from European and other international companies soon. Google Chrome offers more information on the Chrome Privacy website about how it protects the information users share online.
Oh, and in marginally related news: Anyone can now fully personalize advertisements with AdWord. Inside AdWord’s Lauren Barbato took to the service’s official blog to announce a new feature that essentially builds image advertisements for users. She first explained the previous Display Ad Builder function:
“Image and video ads on the Google Display Network can have a strong impact on the success of your online marketing campaigns. These ads convey your messages in more engaging and memorable ways, enticing viewers to buy what you’re selling. The Display Ad Builder tool within AdWords already lets you easily create image and video ads for free and gives you the flexibility to customize these ads to suit your needs.”
Barbato then described how the Display Ad Builder now automatically generates suggested image ads with text ads in a user’s campaign. The blog further detailed how the user can just click on the preferred suggested ad, customize any fonts or colors if desired, and then merge the ad into an ad group.
“You don’t even have to be in the Display Ad Builder tool to use this new feature,” Barbatos contended. “If you’re in one of your ad groups, you can select an existing text ad and under ‘More Actions,’ choose ‘Generate Display Ad.’ AdWords will create an image ad based on the text ad you selected.”
Users can choose from template designs or create an ad from scratch by adding text and customizing the fonts, colors, and background, choosing images from the AdWords stock gallery or computer, and then reviewing the ad in all formats. When done, simply add it to the campaign. For more information about Display Ad Builder, visit the Display Network website.