Ever wondered why certain ads seem to follow you all over the Internet? It has a lot to do with how services like Google use your online activity to determine which ads to show you. Sometimes it feels like they’re eavesdropping on you. Other times like they’re reading your mind.

Unlike television, radio, or printed materials, everyone visiting a website does not see the same advertising. Ads are targeted to you based on what Google believes to be your preferences.

Google uses information compiled from your use of services like Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube, Google Chrome, Smart TVs, and your Android phone and tablet to decide what you might be interested in.

Here’s how to find out why certain ads are targeted to you. Start by going to www.google.com.  If you aren’t signed in, click on Sign in at the upper right.

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To see your account, click on the circle with the letter in the center at the upper-right. Then click on Google Account.

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Click on Manage your data & personalization.

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The Data & personalization page will open.

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Scroll down to Ad personalization and click on Go to ad personalization.

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From here you can choose to turn Ad personalization on or off. Now, even if you turn it off, Google will still collect the information and still show you ads. They just won’t use the information to target you with ads.

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Scroll down to see how ads are personalized.

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You can click on any item listed.

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You’ll see how Google determined that information and, in some cases, be able to update it.

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If you aren’t interested in a particular product or topic, you can choose to turn it off.

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