Google, in the summer, began the rollout of the Topics API, which is a new feature that functions similarly to a cookie. The feature is described simply as allowing browsers to “share information with third parties about a user’s interests while preserving privacy.”
It comes as part of the July version 115 update alongside Google’s new Privacy Sandbox, in an attempt to replace third-party cookies that we’ve been using for years.
If that does not sound like a better alternative to the one we’re used to, then maybe because it is not. Fortunately, there is a way to disable it if getting targeted by ads is not your cup of tea.
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To turn it off, first run Google Chrome. From the upper-right corner, click on the three-dot icon to reveal the Settings option among the list of options. Click on Settings, then click on Privacy and Security, and then finally Ad Privacy.
Or if you like going for a shorter route, simply type “chrome://settings/adPrivacy” (without the quotations) into the address field.
Doing any of the aforementioned, you will be presented with three options:
- Ad topics, which gather your interest according to your browsing history.
- Site-suggested ads, which suggest ads according to the websites you have previously visited.
- Ad measurement, which is a benchmarking tool to help websites analyze the effectiveness of their advertising campaign.
You can click on all three and choose to turn off any available options, including subcategories for each. For instance, Ad topics contain subcategories for Computer and video games as well as Business and industrial that you can choose to disable or enable, depending on your preference.
However, if you are completely averse to all ads, you can simply opt to turn everything off.
It is worth noting that while this method shows your behavior against targeted ads, it is not entirely fool-proof. After all, the sites you visit have ways at their disposal of getting information about you. For instance, they have tracking pixels, cookies, and more that can be used to identify you.
If that does not satisfy your concern, though, there is always an alternative that is privacy-centric, like Brave, TOR, or DuckDuckGo.