When it comes to advertising, personal data can be incredibly valuable. And when it comes to personal data, few organizations know more about you than Google.
As you browse the web, Google tracks the sites in its sprawling ad network that you visit. As Google tracks your browsing patterns, it builds a profile of your inferred interests and demographic categories which are then stored in your Google cookie.
Here is how Google explains it: “For example, if a user browses many sports-related websites displaying AdSense ads or watches sports-related videos on YouTube, Google may associate a sports interest category with their cookie and show the user more sports-related ads. Similarly, if the sites that a user visits have a majority of female visitors (based on aggregated survey data on site visitation), we may associate the user’s cookie with the “female” demographic category.”
My cookie was quite accurate: it included valid generic categories such as music, business news, consumer electronics, enterprise technology, CRM, Air Travel, andMobile / Wireless. It also knew my gender and age band.
If you want to see what Google knows about you, you can view the contents of your cookie here.