Google plays down privacy concerns over targeted web ads

Google has announced the beta launch of a targeted online advertising platform based on users' web habits.
Husni Khuffash, country business manager, UAE, Google.
Husni Khuffash, country business manager, UAE, Google.

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Google has announced the beta launch of a targeted online advertising platform based on users’ web habits.

Privacy campaigners have raised concerns over the unsolicited collection and application of internet usage data, however Google remained adamant that the new service offers numerous benefits and downplayed the effect on user’s privacy.

“We will not be holding any specific information about an individual, we will only be identifying categories of websites that people are visiting. We certainly will not be holding onto any URLs,” claimed Husni Khuffash, country business manager UAE, Google.

“It is essentially a new feature of AdWords,” said Khuffash. “It is obvious that targeted advertising is better for the advertiser, the publisher and the user.”

The service will initially be rolled out across YouTube and other Google partner sites with the company gathering data from cookies, automatically generated text files that carry user data from a web page.

“It will allow advertisers and website owners to offer more relevant material to audiences. This feature means that if someone’s internet usage creates a pattern that shows they are interested in buying a sports car, then they will receive advertising that is relevant to that process,” he explained.

“There will be many ways to access and manage the service. Users can logon to google.com/ads/preferences and select categories that they are more interested in.
They may also opt out of the entire service from this location as well.”

Facebook’s targeted advertising system, Beacon was effectively scrapped after the social networking site used the program to monitor users’ online purchases and other online activity, even when they were not signed into their Facebook accounts. Founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was forced to issue a public apology over the program.
 

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