It’s a small step in the right direction. Google will now allow users to limit and block advertisements about sensitive topics, including pregnancy, parenting, dating, and weight loss — all in a bid to help people avoid topics that might be sensitive to them.
Here’s how to do it.
- Log in to your Google Account.
- Go to your main Google Account dashboard by clicking on your profile picture in the top right corner of your Gmail account (or any other Google account).
- Select your Data & Privacy tab.
- Scroll down and select Ad Settings.
- Select the categories you’d like to limit by pressing the “see fewer” button.
“People want more control over their ads experience, including blocking ads or categories they prefer not to see,” Karin Hennessy, the group product manager for ads privacy at Google, said in a statement. “Providing transparency and control has always been a priority for us so we’re expanding our tools, enabling the choice to see fewer pregnancy and parenting, dating, and weight loss ads. We’ll continue to listen to user feedback and study which categories to expand this feature to in the future.”
It’s a welcome change for people who may be triggered by content, including those with addiction issues, pregnancy losses, eating disorders, or recent changes to their family structure.
Google is warning users that this is feature is in beta testing and not perfect. The company also notes that this will not completely stop you from seeing ads in these categories. For example, if you’re searching for terms related to the categories you’ve selected, you might start seeing related ads.
In addition, these limits only affect certain types of Google ads, at least for the time being. You’ll “see fewer” ads in the selected categories on YouTube in Gmail and on third-party sites that use Google Ads, but you won’t see limited ads in places search results. But you might in the future.
They also stress that you won’t see fewer ads in general, just fewer ads about topics you want to avoid.
Google’s bid to limit sensitive ads started last year, when it rolled out a feature that allows users to see fewer ads about alcohol and gambling on YouTube, and they’re planning on perfecting and expanding the feature in the future.