Google’s efforts to soft-sell behavioral targeting to consumers took a new turn today with the launch of its “Why These Ads” initiative, which permits consumers to find out how their search behaviors influence the content of the ads that they’re shown and indicate tracing preferences. The step is ingenious: Google can be upfront about its targeting while also collecting even more information volunteered by people. Consumers using the “Ad Preferences Manager” tool will be able to see that if they search for a hotel in New York City, they will most likely see a host of display ads for New York Hotels in the sidebar. The tool also allows consumers to chose to block certain ad providers or opt-out of personalized advertising altogether.
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