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We’ve all seen it. One click on that YouTube puppy video and your social media and email fill with gratuitous adverts for dog supplies and graphic PETA video clips.

And I get it. As a writer, my Google searches can (and do) include everything from “How much blood can you lose without dying?” to “Most annoying song of all time?”

**[2.5 to 4 litres of blood, and tie between ‘You’re Beautiful’/James Blunt and ‘We Are the World’/USA for Africa. Unless you’re a parent, in which case it’s ‘Baby Shark’/Pinkfong hands down. No I won’t link to these abominations. You’re welcome.]

Google says this ad placement is basically your own fault:

The ads you see in Gmail are based on data associated with your Google Account. For example, your activity in other Google services like YouTube or Search could affect the types of ads you see in Gmail.

We try to show you useful ads by using data collected from your devices, including your searches and location, websites and apps you have used, videos and ads you have seen, and personal information you have given us, such as your age range, gender, and topics of interest.

Apparently I gave Google the personal information that as an older woman, in lockdown, in Italy, my topics of interest are…

Who knew? Well, actually, now we all do. (Sorry about your next round of Google Ads.)