Google Launches Interest Ads, Privacy Advocates Laud Company

By Matt Van Hoven 

Google launched an upgraded ad program today that displays ads based on your interests, Web history etc. &#151 kind of like what you see in gmail. The system compiles information about your Web history including sites you’ve visited, search keywords and other activity and displays ads based on a cross-section of that information. Google’s going to kick some ass with the new feature but privacy advocates say the technology is hopeful because it allows users to edit the info Google uses to track them.

Anyone who uses Google mail knows what this technology manifests as &#151 above your list of e-mails there’s a simple text ad, and there are similar pieces on the right hand side of the page containing ads related to the content of your e-mails. The first time any of us saw these ads we though, “um wtf is this about?” and if you’re like us you enjoy gmail enough not to care.

It works simply enough &#151 Google culls data, keywords from your e-mail (they promise that they don’t store them or share with e-marketers) and matches your e-profile with ads. This new program works the same way, but culls your search and site info instead. And as we mentioned you can modify what Google “knows” about you if you want.

And now that the ad system has been applied to the rest of the net we can hope that we’ll no longer be plied with ads we don’t care about. In that sense, Google will probably make a lot of people happy &#151 since they are essentially putting an end to adspam. Well, sort of.

What implications does this have for the banner ad business? You’re the pros, you tell us.

More: “Death of Print: Google Ends Paper Advertising Program