It's easy to completely block ads on the web, but Google has a new tool that lets you opt out of what it calls ‘interest-based’ ads, or tell it what you like so it can show you relevant adverts. Here’s how to stop Google ads which are targeted and shown on Google-owned sites as well as 2m other partner sites. See also: How to block pop-ups
How to stop Google ads: opt out
Google thinks you’re more likely to find ads useful and relevant if you tell it what you like. We’ll explain how to do that below, but first here’s how to opt out of the service so that ads aren’t tailored for you.
According to Google, you can go to this ads settings page to download a Chrome, IE or Firefox plugin that will permanently opt you out of the DoubleClick cookie – DoubleClick being one of Google’s ad platforms.
When you install the extension, it’s supposed to stop targeted ads in that browser even if you clear your cookies. It works only in Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox, and you’ll have to install the extension for every browser you use. If you sign into those browsers, the extension should automatically be installed in the same browers on other computers you use, but not your mobile devices. However you can find out how to block ads on Android.
Some reviewers of the plugin claim that it doesn’t work properly and that targeted ads still appear. But this is Google’s official method. If you want to block all ads, follow our How to block ads tutorial.
How to control which ads Google shows you
Go to the new ads settings page and sign in if prompted.
Near the top you can choose to tell Google what you’re interested in. However, the list is limited as you can see:
You can also set your gender and age to get ads based on those criteria too.
If you’d rather not see targeted ads, you can toggle the green button in the ‘Ads based on your interests’ section. As the pop-up warns, turning them off doesn’t mean you won’t see ads, they’ll simply be less relevant and you can no longer block specific advertisers.
You should also click the ‘Control signed-out ads’ button which gives you two more toggles to turn off targeted ads in Google search results and on websites that aren’t owned by Google.