How Well Does Google Know You?

Geek Factor: 1

Twitter’s been abuzz with folks posting the results of their Google ads preferences, noting how well Google knows – or doesn’t know – them, based on their demographic and topical/geographic categories. Find out what Google thinks it knows about you by visiting your ad preferences page while logged into your primary browser.

Here at Stem, we had a laugh comparing ours. The Google profile attached to my Stem email account got it right that I’m a female, but put me in an older age category. Laurel’s profile got her age range right, but had her pegged as a male! (She thinks it’s from all the techy Googling she does.) Who’s got all the world’s information now, huh Google?

The preferences attached to our personal email profiles were noticeably different, and because the tracking is cookie-based, we also got different results when we checked them on our iPads.  I have to say that this is simultaneously encouraging and creepy – I mean, if I have to see ads, I suppose I’d rather they be at least marginally relevant to me. On the flipside — well, I just hope Google lives up to its Don’t Be Evil mantra.

You can opt-out of the demographics tracking, so that the ads Google presents you aren’t influenced by your age and sex, and you can remove or edit geographical and topical categories if you like. You’ll also reset your preferences if you delete your browser’s cookies. Learn more about Ads Preferences in this video from Google:

Have you checked your ad preferences page? Was it accurate? If not, did you update it?

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