Google is introducing new users controls to allow people to limit the number of ads they see about pregnancy, parenting, dating and weight loss. The company first announced ad controls for YouTube in the United States and enabled users to choose to see fewer gambling and alcohol ads. Since the initial launch, these controls have rolled out to users globally for ads on YouTube.
The company announced today that it’s expanding these controls with new ad categories for both YouTube and Gmail. The controls will also apply to third-party sites where Google serves ads. Google told TechCrunch in an email the controls currently don’t apply to Search ads, but the company is working to bring the feature to Search ads in the future.
Google says it’s rolling out the new controls following feedback from users asking for more ads-level control, particularly about sensitive topics that they may want to avoid.
“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.”
The user controls can be accessed in the Ad Settings section under the Google Account dashboard. From there, you can scroll down to the “Sensitive ad categories” section that will allow you to limit specific types of ads in the five available topics: alcohol, dating, gambling, pregnancy and parenting, and weight loss. You can then click on the “see fewer button,” after which Google will notify you that you should see fewer ads for this category when you are signed into your Google Account. It’s worth noting that this won’t change the total number of ads you see. In addition, Google notes that you may still see ads that refer to these categories when searching or viewing related content.
The new controls are a welcome addition that should help address instances when specific online advertising can be disturbing for some users. For example, it can be harmful for someone suffering from an eating disorder to see ads about weight loss and someone struggling to get pregnant likely doesn’t want to see ads related to parenting.