Google has vowed to provide its users with more pertinent ads through what it calls interest-based advertising which some have already compared to controversial ad-targeting company Phorm.
In a blog post written by Susan Wojcicki, VP, Product Management, Google acknowledges that "advertisers and publisher partners have been asking us for a long time to offer interest-based advertising. Advertisers need an efficient way to reach those who are most interested in their products and services. And publishers can generate more revenue when they connect advertisers to interested audiences."
Google's decision to use what essentially is behavioral targeting in its advertising could open a Pandora box as the online advertising industry endorses and adopts technologies that will monitor and track user activities.
This will allow advertisers to deliver content that will match the user's interest in a bid to improve click through rate (CTR) significantly as cost per click and impression fall down significantly as the recession amplifies..
Users will be able to opt out of the advertising cookie system and edit their information at any time through a tool called Ads Preferences Manager. Yahoo is already using behavioural techniques to deliver its advertising.
Google says that it will segment its user base into 20 categories and almost 600 subcategories but will exclude some topics like sexual orientation, race, religion, some health concerns etc.
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Google is likely to cause a hell lot of concern with this announcement although to be fair it does allow users to opt out of the programme. But then, it did allow users to opt out (or indeed opt in) of its Google Latitude Mobile Tracking System but that didn't prevent UK MPs from tabling an Early Day Motion against the company on the grounds that it might be a threat to personal privacy.