ProPublica reported on the change Oct. 21, noting that Google could now, if it wanted to, “build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct.”
“The move is a sea change for Google and a further blow to the online ad industry’s longstanding contention that web tracking is mostly anonymous,” ProPublica reported. “In recent years, Facebook, offline data brokers and others have increasingly sought to combine their troves of web tracking data with people’s real names. But until this summer, Google held the line.”
New Gmail users automatically agree to the policy when they sign up, while old Gmail users must opt-in.
The change means you might see an add on ESPN.com for something you wrote about in Gmail.
The good news: It is easy to opt out. Here is how to do it:
1. Go to Google’s My Account page.
2. Click on Mange Your Google Activity.
3. Click on Go to Activity Controls.
4. Uncheck the box next to “Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services.”
6. At the same link, you also can prevent Google from tracking your Location, your YouTube viewing history and your browsing history.
What is your reaction to Google’s new policy? Share your thoughts in the section below: