Does Google Think You're Male or Female?

How to see and change your demographic data on Google

Close-Up Of Male And Female Toilet Signs On Wall
Maik Schmalenberg / EyeEm / Getty Images

Google's highest income source is advertisements; they power ads just about everywhere on the web, with text links and banner ads. One marketing method is targeting you for certain ads based on your gender.

The way this works is through web browser cookies or small files stored by a browser that follows you from site to site that identifies a little bit about you for advertisers. Specifically, they explain your interests, previously visited sites, and inferred demographic information.

That may lead to the feeling that Google ads are stalking you. When you visit a website, you may notice ads from a website you've previously visited, even on a different device. When you visit several websites about shoes, you might notice that ads in other websites talk about footwear.

That's either very relevant or very creepy...perhaps a little of both. Fortunately, you're not stuck passively accepting this information. You can see and adjust the interest-based advertising from Google, and you can even mute the ads for a period of time by visiting your Google account settings.

How to View and Change Your Ad Settings

  1. Open the Ads Settings page and log in to your Google account.

  2. Scroll down to the Your Profile section. Your gender and age are listed in this area.

  3. Select the pencil icon to change either of them.

  4. To pick a gender other than Male or Female, go into the Gender settings and select the OR ADD CUSTOM GENDER link.

  5. Type a custom gender and choose SAVE.

Customize the Ads Google Shows You

Changing what kinds of ads Google should and shouldn't show you can be done from the Ads Personalization section from the link in Step 1 above.

Exit any topics from the TOPICS YOU LIKE section that you don't want to see ads for or add new ones with the NEW TOPIC button. Go into the TOPICS YOU DON'T LIKE to change those options.

Turn Off Ad Personalization

To completely disable ad personalization, return to Step 1 and toggle the whole section to the OFF position, and then confirm it with the TURN OFF button.

Here is what Google has to say about turning off ad personalization:

  • You’ll still see ads, but they’ll be less useful to you.
  • You’ll no longer be able to block or mute some ads.
  • Ads you see may still be based on your general location (such as city or state) or recent searches.
  • The topics saved in your Ads Settings will be removed.
  • This opt-out may not occur instantaneously.