Google Plans to Make Ads 'More Interesting'

Susan Wojcicki, Google's Vice-President of Product Management, on Wednesday published a blog entry in which she discussed modifying the company's advertising technology to make online ads "more interesting for users." To that end, Google has gone into Beta testing with "interest-based advertising" on its partner sites and on YouTube.

Ms. Wojcicki wrote: "These ads will associate categories of interest — say sports, gardening, cars, pets — with your browser, based on the types of sites you visit and the pages you view. We may then use those interest categories to show you more relevant text and display ads."

Users will be able to choose their favorite categories for ads, as well as bock certain ones. "Interest-based advertising also helps advertisers tailor ads for you based on your previous interactions with them, such as visits to their websites," she said. "So if you visit an online sports store, you may later be shown ads on other websites offering you a discount on running shoes during that store's upcoming sale."

Of course, such technology brings with it privacy concerns, and Ms. Wojcicki addressed those by pointing to the Ads Preferences Manager, which lets users view, delete, or add interest categories associated with their browsers, as well as opt out of the advertising altogether. There's also a browser plug-in for maintaining those preferences, even after clearing out browser cookies, but it's only available for Firefox and Internet Explorer.