Am I Getting Ads for Things I Google?

You're not going crazy. Your phone really did serve you an ad based on your search.

This is ad personalization and it's intended to show you ads of things you are actually interested in or looking for. And frankly, it's how sites like Google and Facebook stay free to users. They survive on advertising revenue.

It's not possible to completely stop it, but you can set some boundaries. The most popular browsers (Google Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox) as well as other, less popular ones all offer various privacy settings. The Federal Trade Commission recommends going into your browser's help center (usually found next to or near the settings menu) to learn what you can change and how.

Be aware, however, that the measures you take on one device usually don't carry over to your other devices. You may even need to adjust multiple browsers (for example, changing your privacy settings on Google Chrome won't stop companies from tracking you through Firefox).

Your smartphones, laptops, and other internet-capable devices have their own system-wide privacy options in their Settings menus. Many devices include a short explanation next to each setting to tell you what it does. For assistance, look in the manual that came with your device or find the manufacturer's help center online. Again, changing a setting on one device won't change it on another.

In addition to privacy settings, the FTC says you should consider the information you volunteer online. Remember that your likes, comments, and shares on social media all provide information about your interests - whether you're using your real name or a handle. If you spend lots of time on Facebook or similar platforms, you may want to consider cutting back.

Finally, many websites offer an option to create an account using your Facebook or Google login. Before you connect an account on one website to an account on another, the FTC says you should consider whether you want those two websites feeding your data to each other.

Want some extra peace of mind? While Amazon knowing your Google searches doesn't threaten your network security, hackers do. The free CommandIQ app comes with automatic hacker blocking that notifies you when a threat or intrusion is detected. If you have MEC fiber internet, it's available now through your phone's app store.

You need a GigaSpire router to take advantage of CommandIQ's automatic hacker blocking. If you don't have one, we'll send you one for free.