back to article Google remarkets behavioral ad eyeball creep

At the very least, it's yet another demonstration of Google's uniquely creepy ability to control what you see on the interwebs. On Thursday, Mountain View formally announced a behavioral targeting scheme that allows a third-party advertiser to place a piece of Google code on its website that will track your visits to the site …


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  1. retroneo

    Safari Blocks by Default

    Interestingly, Safari's default setting - to block cookies from third party servers - prevents this from working according to Google's Opt-out Page.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I like it.

    It takes an awful long time for a plane to crash from 30,000 feet. Rather than waste time composing last e-mails, this gives you the option of buying more stuff (two clicks!) before you

  3. Nick Stallman

    Why the whining

    They give you the ability to easily opt-out. Use it if you dont like it.

    1. DavCrav

      @Nick Stallman

      "They give you the ability to easily opt-out. Use it if you dont like it."

      Oh for the love of God. I suspect I am just one of many people explaining why this is a silly statement. How about if I say that I'm going to murder everyone on the 1st of April, but you can opt out by going to a website. It's very easy to do so, so why are you whining when you didn't know I was going to do it and I turn up on April Fools' Day with an axe and a Shining smile?

      1. Mike Shepherd
        Thumb Up Douglas Adams put it

        "There’s no point in acting surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for 50 of your Earth years, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now. What do you mean you’ve never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for heavens sake mankind, it’s only four light years away, you know. I’m sorry, but if you can’t be bothered to take an interest in local affairs that’s your own lookout".


      Because a cookie isn't an opt out is it?

      Delete your cookies, intall a new browser, buy a new PC, and you're opted in to Google's spying by default.

      If it is such a bonus for users, Google could make it opt in couldn't they? I'm sure there would be a stampede of people who want to be stalked by the advertising industry. Not.

      There are solutions. Avoid sites which use Google tracking. Block Google tracking in your router. Refuse Google tracking cookies. Use a URL filter to strip the stuff out.

      Or corrupt Google's tracking cookie. Hang on, wheres my notepad IDE... I'll BRB...

    3. Pandy06269


      Why should people have to opt-out - it should be opt-in if you WANT it

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Systems like behavourial targeting should not be opt-out... They should be opt-in.

      Have you learned nothing from what happened with Phorm?

      Cookies are the worst solution for opt-ing out. They can be deleted.

      There's people that don't even allow cookies.

      As for installing a plug-in to opt-out, why should we?

      If we want to install a plug-in that usually means we want that services.

      If we don't want the service we can remove the plug-in.

      The EU should investigate Google now.

  4. Simon Lyon

    What's a web advertisement? - I've forgotten

    Firefox + Adblock Plus

    It's quite a novel, not to say shocking, experience when I see a web ad. Happens about once a month.

    Google's ad technology only matters to people who don't know how to configure a browser properly.

    1. Rattus Rattus
      Thumb Up

      Adblock Plus

      is about the most useful plugin ever written for a web browser. It's truly a jarring experience on the rare occasion I have to use a computer that doesn't have it installed.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      AdBlock Plus?

      Wassat? :-)

      I run it to, but with NoScript locking down scripts and Flash and stuff, I honestly don't see that AdBlock Plus even gets a look-in. TACO makes sure the common tracing cookies are munged too much to be useful, and BetterPrivacy slams the door on Flash cookies. So no adverts, and no tracing either.

      But, then... the opt-out cookie. Isn't that sorta like spam saying "If you don't wish to receive our messages, click HERE"?

      1. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!
        Paris Hilton

        Click where? Oh, here! And there? OK!

        @heyrick, 04:07 (what sorta time IS that???)

        "Isn't that sorta like spam saying "If you don't wish to receive our messages, click HERE"?"

        You mean that doesn't work? Huh. Dammit. All that time I spend saying "no thank you", wasted....

        Paris would click there.

      2. Anonymous Swineherd
        Thumb Up

        No NoScript

        NoScript was a decent too, but I decided to deinstall it after the problems it had last May.

        ABP, TACO, BetterPrivacy and Ghostery do the job, and RIP to manually remove anything the others don't catch.

        I also block all 3rd party cookies and I don't use Gmail or have a Google account.

        1. Seanmon
          Thumb Up


          Didn't know about that one... cheers.

          Although I do that using the hosts file :

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      I hear yah

      Forgotten how awful most web pages look these days with all that flash crap.

      Adblock plus is your very best friend.


        Malware Ads

        ... and with malware ads being delivered by Google and Adclick, using an ad blocker is a good security precaution too.

        See Reg: "Google's DoubleClick spreads malicious ads (again)"

        See Reg: "DoubleClick caught supplying malware-tainted ads"

    4. Elmer Phud

      Open your eyes?

      Every now and then try your normal browsing on another machine or using IE.

      You won't recognise some of your favourite sites.

      It's a good idea, every now and then, to actually see what you are missing - just to see what others have to put up with and to knock up your 'smug bastard' score.

    5. Anonymous Coward

      Yus.... people must be a real disappointment to Google!

  5. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge

    Combine with iris scans

    for that truly minority report feel.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      We are

      You do have a webcam on your laptop, don't you? Yes, Trevor, we see you.

  6. Christoph

    Great news for the spammers

    All that's needed now is to fool you into visiting a page, and google will then kindly serve you up that spammer's ads on all the other pages you visit. So there will be a lot more junk designed to trick you.

    Well, not 'you' as in El Reg readers - see comments above re AdBlock and NoScript.

  7. tom 71

    Not associated with "adult products"

    I browsed for hair care once and it's on my google list. I've looked at pr0n at least twice and it's not there. Is google really not taking advantage of this market? (Alternative religion isn't there either).

    1. The BigYin

      If they did...

      ...then I think people would twig just how evil Google are being.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who needs Adblock when you have brain

    I have become very good at browsing the web while completely ignoring anything at the side of my field of vision or anything that says 'advert' or 'sponsored result'. Every day, somebody is giving Google money for nothing (even right now, there are adverts at the side of the page which I am not looking at). They can target me all they like... i'll still ignore them. Of course it probably helps that I live in Finland so they generally serve me adverts in a language which I can't understand...

  9. Pirate Peter

    ads and malware

    google wants us to accept adverts

    big fail with the issues of ads infected with malware as reported by el reg

    still occurring yesterday on el reg web site reported by a user on nodpi,889.msg27758.html#msg27758

    until they clean up their act adblock etc will stop all averts, flash and TACO will automatically opt me out of most data collection

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Could be fun....

    ...Man (or Woman let's not be hasty) spends all day surfing for porn. Partner comes down next day to look up some clothes for kiddy and up pops the ad for hot lesbian love videos.

    Now who do you sue, porn ads on a kiddie site, gotta be worth millions the for the trauma invoked.

  11. bharq
    Big Brother


    aha, that explains it!

    I got slammed with this for the first time yesterday, when I visited an online store and some hours later saw the banner of this store staring at me in a completely unrelated site. I thought it was so creepy, I felt naked in front of my pc! (no I wasn't, I was at work and my work at the moment doesn't involve getting naked). I immediately destroyed all the cookies on my machine, which solved it (temporarily).

    Good to know you can opt out of it - but seriously, how many people have any clue that it's Google doing this, and if they do, know that there is a possibility to opt out of it?

  12. Just Thinking
    Thumb Down

    Ads serve a purpose

    Nothing wrong with getting information on products or services you might not know about, based on the site you happen to be viewing at the time. I have occaisionally found useful things like that, and once in a while bought stuff.

    Behavioural ads take all that useful randomness away. Probably makes more money for Google, but for me it might be time to block ads.

  13. David Edwards

    Desktop Phorm "via cookies"

    As per title, its like Phorm, without the infrastructure overhead.

    Whilst I agree that target ads are better than on-targeted ads, anything to automate the dissemination of my browsing history is not a good thing.

    Hows bing coming on these days........

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It is NOT like Phorm.

      Like Phorm, it's invasive, annoying and unwanted; but unlike Phorm, it is blockable and it isn't illegal.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The harder they try...

    The more people resort to anything to get rid of the damned ads, or just do that mental edit 'blank anything that looks like an ad' thing. Ask the telemarketing industry; there is a reason over half the country is registered with TPS/MPS.

    Eventually their pool of potential eyeballs will be down to one bloke in Hartlepool with Win 98 and a serious gaffer tape shortage.

  15. CD001

    If the tracking...

    If the tracking is a cookie and the opt-out is also a cookie... what happens if you set your browser to delete all cookies on shut-down?

    I'm guessing Google gets to profile your browsing for that session and that session only.

    How do they set the cookies? JavaScript or server side? Mind, I block all third party cookies (which doesn't help with Google Analytics) and run NoScript...

    Funny thing is, I actually don't mind the odd add tucked away down the side of the screen on some websites - particularly free, community-run sites (e.g. some gaming sites) - but I don't see why the advert needs to be any more targeted than the website it appears on? It's worked for magazines for long enough.

  16. Steven Knox

    Actually, they are.

    "AdSense and DoubleClick data may not be merged today, but now that they use the same cookie, it would be trivial to do so."

    If they use the same cookie, then they are stored in the same datastore. Same cookie means same access, means AdSense and DoubleClick CAN both access the shared data, even if Google claims that they don't.

    So for all intents and purposes, the data is merged now. Cloud computing works both ways, folks.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, but...

    Unfortunately, blocking ads can backfire on you...

    My wife used a website to send her mother a greetings card. It seemed like a reputable site and because we run Adblock on all our machines she didn't see what sort of ads they were serving.

    Unforrtunately, her mother doesn't run Adblock and wasn't impressed by the pr0n adverts she saw when she received the card.


  18. Garve Scott-Lodge

    WWon't someone please think of the children?

    My children depend upon the money I make from Adsense - come on guys, switch off that adblocking software and start clicking. Where's the harm?

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