Google bought DoubleClick, an advertising network, in 2007. At that time, Google promised privacy was a priority when integrating with advertising products – and they upheld this promise for almost ten years. Google previously kept Doubleclick’s “massive database of web-browsing records” separate from other data collected (names, personally identifiable information collected from Gmail and other logins) by default.
The updates mean DoubleClick can use personally identifiable information collected from Gmail or other logins to customize the ads they serve. This includes using keywords found in email content, and that Google can create a profile of each user including name, email, sites visited, email content and searches conducted.
This is a huge privacy violation, and highly invasive to Google users. It also invalidates any previous claims by digital advertisers that ads are anonymous or based on aggregate data. While many other companies were already combining data across logins (Facebook, for example, had been doing this for 2 years), Google held out in not doing so. Since Google is such a large company, it’s likely they’ll set a precedent for other companies in implementing.
Want to Opt Out? Here’s How:
It’s possible to opt-out of Google’s identified tracking. To do so, visit the Activity controls on Google’s My Account page, and uncheck the box next to “Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services.” It’s also possible to delete past activity from your account.