As good a browser as Chrome is, the ad tracking – and very personalized banner ad choices – can add a particularly creepy tone to any internet surfing session. If you visit a website in Chrome, and leave without buying something, you may see ads from that site follow you around to other websites. Check out a menu for a restaurant online, and you may see banner ads for that restaurant for weeks.
Today, Online Tech Tips shared advice for getting rid of the ad tracking. They recommend an extension for Chrome called Keep My Opts-Out. In review their experience after adding the extension, they say: “The advertisements you see are now changed. Instead of being specific to you, they are more general in nature. Just to test the waters, we searched Google for a very spam-heavy keyword: Viagra. The ads we received were targeted only to our search string—nothing else. This way, the ads also lead to more legitimate Web sites, like the official Viagra page and Drugstore.com. Normally, Google’s tracking would remember we had searched for this topic, so that when we searched for something more generic, but related, Viagra ads would still show. To test the waters, we searched for Drugs.
No advertisements appeared anywhere on the page, but we did notice that Google was still tracking our location. Please note that location tracking is usually done by your computer’s IP address, not tracking software cookies. This is also why the location is off by about 50 miles.”
While the specific ad tracking and display is likely no more dangerous than other information that’s being tracked about your internet use, seeing those ads follow you around can be disconcerting. Browser extensions are often free, effective ways to deal with issues like this. If you use Chrome, you can browse their extensions here.