Does Google Think You're Male or Female?

How to see or change your demographic data on Google

Google uses information about you, including your gender, to tailor ads to your identity and interests. You can see this information in your Google account's ads settings page. Here's how to see whether Google got your gender right and how to change it if it's wrong.

How and Why Google Knows So Much About You

Cookies are tidbits of information stored in a web browser. Cookies typically indicate your interests, previously visited sites, and inferred demographic information, such as your gender. This information is gleaned from sites you visit and your interactions with pages. You also might have entered such information in your Google profile.

Google uses this information to personalize the ads you see. For example, after visiting several websites about shoes, you might notice that advertisements on other sites display footwear.

How to View and Change Your Personal Info and Ad Settings

You don't have to passively accept this information. You can see and adjust your Google account information, including your gender. You can also adjust and mute the ads for a while. Here's how.

  1. Select your profile icon in the upper-right corner on google.com. Select Manage your Google Account.

    Manage your Google Account
  2. Select Personal info from the left menu. Next to Gender, check that the entry is correct.

    Personal info in Google account
  3. If not, select Gender, and then choose the appropriate entry.

    Selecting gender in Google settings
  4. Select Data & personalization, then look at Ad personalization to find information Google has gathered about you.

    Google account data and personalization
  5. The first categories contains personal information, such as your gender and age. The other categories cover areas of interest.

    Google ad personalization
  6. Select any category for a description of where Google gathered the information. If you don't want Google to use the information, select Turn off in every category. When you do, Google won't consider that interest when targeting you with ads.

    Disable Google ad category

Customize the Ads Google Shows You

To change the kinds of ads Google shows you, go to Ad Settings and turn off any topics you don't want used to target ads to you. This may take a while. It isn't unusual to have hundreds of interest categories that have been identified through your browsing history.

Turn Off Ad Personalization

To completely disable Google's ad personalization, move the slider on the Ad personalization screen to the OFF position. You'll still see ads, but you won't be closely targeted. Ads can be influenced by the time of day, your general location, or the subject of a web page you are viewing.

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

  • You'll still see ads, but ads will be less useful to you.
  • You'll no longer be able to turn off ads from specific advertisers.
  • Any advertisers or interests you turned off won't be saved.