Search engines, and specifically the ruler of them all, Google, have simplified our lives so much, it’s difficult to think of a time before a few keystrokes gave us access to almost any information. The other side of having access to so much information is that Google probably knows a lot more about you than you might think.

Have you noticed that you see ads for products that you have browsed following you around the internet after you’ve window-shopped on a website? This is thanks to something called Google Ads, and if it has you feeling uncomfortable, you’ll be glad to hear that there is a way to turn them off.

How does it work?

Every time you browse a website that supports Google Ads and look at a product, but decide not to buy it, you might start seeing ads for said product on other websites that support Google Ads. The purpose of these ads – simply referred to as Reminder Ads – is to remind you of a purchase that you wanted to make, but didn’t.

Google argues that it might be useful for consumers to be reminded of things they were interested in buying. At the same time, they recognise that not everyone wants to be reminded of something if they’ve already decided not to buy it, and have measures in place to turn this feature off.

How to turn it off

Turning off Reminder Ads is pretty easy, but there is a catch or two. Here’s how.

1. Go to www.google.com
2. In the right-hand corner, click on Google Apps, and select “My Account” (you’ll have to sign in if you haven’t yet).
3. Under the “Personal info & privacy” tab, select “Ads Settings”.
4. Scroll down and select “Manage Ads Settings”.
5. Scroll down until you see the words “Also use Google Account activity and information to personalize ads on these websites and apps and store that data in your Google Account” and click the box to deselect this setting.

Google Reminder Ads is a functionality that is meant to make the lives of consumers easier, so it might be best to leave it be if you are in the habit of browsing products for future purchases.

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