Why am I seeing ads for products I viewed during prior browser searches

Description of the issue:
How can this issue be reproduced?

  1. do browser search
  2. click on link and visit product page
  3. Go to different web page
  4. See ad for the same product viewed in #2

Expected result:
Not to see ad for same product I viewed via browser search

Brave Version( check About Brave):

Additional Information:
Essentially, I’d like to figure out how to prevent browser from transferring info about my searches to online advertisers. Not sure whether the data is grabbed by Google or Duck-duck go (which I use as my search engine).

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Hello there @richards1052 do you have your shields enabled while browsing?

If you still are seeing ads you can enable these shields Fanboy Annoyances List and uBlock Annoyances List to block most ads and trackers on the web.

To select them click on this link brave://settings/shields/filters then on filters list, search and check on the boxes corresponding to the ones mentioned previously.

Let me know if that works,

i have shields up (mac monterey + always use a paid VPN) search google for specific item, close than window. i go to an unrelated say outdoor website and i want to see ADs there so i lower shields, i see AD for the exact product i just google searched. how would the outdoor site know what i searched for on google? (i often remove google cookies). i did an extensive search here on brave forums and don’t see an explanation except “don’t use google or bing or DDG”. i usually use brave or Startpage but sometimes i use google when i can’t find certain info then remove cookies. thanks for any info!

Not an expert in this field, but, if you are searching directly on Google for something then they will at that point know what ‘you’ (either by a unique identifier in a cookie, or fingerprinting based on browser characteristics, or by you having been signed into Google when you visited Google Search and entered your terms) searched for.

Then, if you visit another site that is hooked into Google for advertisement purposes, it’s trivial for them to again identify you and serve you the relevant ads – especially with Shields down. In this scenario I’m not sure if it makes any difference whether they were up or down when you did the initial search, you already gave them your interests by using their Search engine, and also an opportunity to fingerprint you; and they almost certainly store that on their end so getting rid of cookies planted by Google at this point probably has no effect. Disabling Shields for your other (2nd) visit then allows you to be fingerprinted and/or for 3rd-party cookies to be read and written. (On this 2nd site, Google would be the 3rd party.)

The key, I think, is knowing what “User X’s” interests are; and then being able to tell that “User X” is visiting some site and then giving you the relevant ads because they know it’s the same user.

Hopefully someone can correct me if I’m wrong here, or maybe polish up my explanation a bit.

I did download one of the filters. So far it seems ads aren’t keyed to my prior online shopping. So I think that’s progress.

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I wanted to be clear to you and another commenter that I don’t use Google as my search engine. I use duckduckgo precisely because I want my online activity to be protected and NOT to be tracked. But despite this, somehow even on that browser my ads were still being personalized.

As I said in reply above, the filter I applied with the commenter’s suggestion seems to have reduced the personalization. Which is what I wanted.

Fair enough; my reply was to the above for what it’s worth.

Anyway let us know how it goes, thanks!

Hi again @richards1052, glad to read that. Are you still encountering ads related to the search you recently made or with the filters this no longer appears?

Be waiting for your response.

thnks for detailed reply Jim! my VPN clears out everything (it’s high “hacker” quality VPN, LOL). my IP changes several times per day, nothing is stored from my VPN service. i only use google a few times per week, i always use Brave. everything i read in your post i thought that’s the purpose of Brave browser was to stop this (fingerprinting/tracking). even if i lower shields for a few google searches when i raise shields shouldn’t brave clear out all the fingerprinting? when i clear the cookies? i see no way google could determine i’m the same person when i’ve cleared cookies, VPN, changed IP. the only thing is static is my mac serial number, do they read that? UDID UUID look static too. brave must be handshaking with google

DuckDuckGo privacy browser caught sending tracking data to Microsoft (i do my best to support american companies but i believe the only secure search, in english, is Startpage. it saves nothing as far as i know and u can choose in setting to use EU only servers. EU has laws protecting citizens internet use/data (that’s one reason why US corporations want to break up the EU)

Nope. In fact, lowering Shields can put the site on a whitelist, allowing cookies to be stored and not removing them even when you choose to clear all cookies. I’m not sure if you’ve paid attention to the Sites that can always use cookies portion at brave://settings/cookies Google actually tends to get added there by people logging into Google or Google things all the time, especially if drop Shields.

Having Shields on will default to preventing pages from storing cookies and tracking you. But it doesn’t work in retrospect. So if you have added something while Shields down, Brave won’t get rid of it. Truthfully, there’s no reason to ever be dropping Shields. You can always log in to websites with Shields up and no site should ever really be broken. You may have to change tier, like go from Aggressively Block to just Block, but that’s about it.

Which does lead me to ask, why would you drop Shield to do searches?

Have you ever tested for leaks on that? You’d be amazed all the little things on your device that can leak your location and other data, if you haven’t already looked. Also, despite using VPN, sometimes your internet provider will still supply your info. It’s a big pain and a lot of things for people to watch.

Nah. I know I never have the issue. Just make sure to keep Shields up and have Fanboy Annoyances List and uBlock Annoyances filters turned on. Also, I tend to leave adblocking and all set to Aggressively Block Ads & Trackers without it breaking site. Also Block Cross-Site Cookies because they aren’t ever needed. Fingerprinting is set to Block Fingerprinting.

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As to question on leaks, I’ll link to something I wrote to someone else early this year. Just is a FYI if you aren’t familiar with the info.

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