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Mute ‘reminder’ ads that follow you around the internet with Google’s new tool

Published Jan 25th, 2018 3:26PM EST
Google Ad Blocker: ad settings
Image: Google

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Seeing adverts is just a fact of life for anyone on the internet these days. While the most intrusive kinds of pop-ups have died out by now, pervasive tracking ads that follow you from site to site and try and nudge you into purchases have taken their place.

If you’ve even looked at a product on an online store — let alone actually buy it — you’ve doubtless been targeted with a reminder ad, which follows you after the original store, and shows you current pricing and a link to buy whatever you were looking at.

Google, the largest online ad network and also the company that owns the browser that most people use to look at websites, has had enough. So starting today, you can mute reminder ads on a per-advertiser basis for 90 days, meaning that one quick look at a smartphone case isn’t going to see you dogged by reminder ads for the next month.

“You visit Snow Boot Co.’s website, add a pair of boots to your shopping cart, but you don’t buy them because you want to keep looking around. The next time that you’re shopping online, Snow Boot Co. might show you ads that encourage you to come back to their site and buy those boots,” Google manager Jon Krafcik wrote in a blog post announcing the changes. “Reminder ads like these can be useful, but if you aren’t shopping for Snow Boot Co.’s boots anymore, then you don’t need a reminder about them. A new control within Ads Settings will enable you to mute Snow Boot Co.’s reminder ads. Today, we’re rolling out the ability to mute the reminder ads in apps and on websites that partner with us to show ads. We plan to expand this tool to control ads on YouTube, Search, and Gmail in the coming months.”

To block a reminder ad, go to Google’s Ad Settings page while logged into your Google account. Scroll down, and you’ll see a section called “Your reminder ads.” Tap the X next to any ad you don’t want to see any more.

Google is also adding additional features to its existing “Mute This Ad” feature, which lets you tap on a settings bar next to any Google ad you don’t like. Starting today, Google will now mute a particular ad across all devices that use the same Google account. “If you mute an ad for Snow Boot Co. on your smartphone, it will also be muted on your laptop,” Google explains. “Second, you will likely see Mute This Ad in even more places as we are expanding this control to work across more apps and websites that partner with Google to show ads.”

Chris Mills
Chris Mills News Editor

Chris Mills has been a news editor and writer for over 15 years, starting at Future Publishing, Gawker Media, and then BGR. He studied at McGill University in Quebec, Canada.