SAN FRANCISCO: Google has announced that it is rolling out a new tool that will enable users to exert more control over so-called “reminder ads” – those often annoying ads that follow users around the internet based on browsing history.

While reminder ads can have their uses – for example, if a potential customer has genuinely forgotten to go ahead with a purchase – they are frequently cited as an aggravation for consumers.

Now, Google has decided to make more additions to its Ads Settings and Mute This Ad features, which will allow users to “mute” these reminder ads across all websites and apps that partner with Google for their advertising.

Jon Krafcik, Group Product Manager for Data Privacy and Transparency at Google, announced the update in a blog post last week in which he stated that “control over your data has always been a top priority for us”.

While he said reminder ads can be useful, he gave an example of an imaginary shopper who searches for snow boots, decides against buying them, but still gets plagued by these ads.

“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,” he wrote.

“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.”

He added that Google has received more than five billion pieces of feedback about ads that were muted because they weren’t relevant, leading the company to remove one million ads from its ad network based on these comments.

The new mute feature, which lasts for 90 days, will operate across Google’s partner websites and apps within days before being rolled out to YouTube, Search and Gmail in the coming months.

Sourced from Google; additional content by WARC staff