Ads are part of the internet, but unlike more traditional advertisements you see in the physical world, internet ads are smarter because they can track you and your browsing habits, meaning that these companies know what you like, what you don’t like, what you’re searching for, and can then cater ads that target you specifically.
If you’d like a bit more transparency as to what these ads are actually doing when they’re tracking you, you might be interested to learn that Google has announced a new Chrome extension called Ad Transparency Spotlight. As the name implies, this is an extension that shows you how many ads are loaded onto a page, who are the advertisers, and the kind of information that is being used to serve these ads.
According to Google, “Our new Ads Transparency Spotlight (Alpha) extension for Chrome is part of our ongoing initiative to give people more visibility into the data used to personalize ads and more control over that data.” At the moment, this extension only works with Google’s own ads, but they hope that in the future it will cover other platforms as well.
While this extension does not block the ads, hopefully with the transparency, users will be more aware of what kind of information is being tracked and decide if they’re comfortable with it or not.