How Google uses cookies

A cookie is a small piece of text sent to your browser by a website that you visit. It helps the website remember information about your visit, which can make it easier to visit the site again and the site more useful to you.

For example, we use cookies to remember your preferred language, to make the ads that you see more relevant to you, to count how many visitors we receive to a page, to help you sign up for our services, to protect your data or to remember your ad settings.

This page describes the types of cookies used by Google and the names of specific cookies. It also explains how Google and our partners use cookies in advertising. See the Privacy Policy to learn how we protect your privacy in our use of cookies and other information.

Types of cookies used by Google

We use different types of cookies to run Google websites and ads-related products. Some or all of the cookies described below may be stored in your browser. You can view and manage cookies in your browser (though browsers for mobile devices may not offer this visibility). For example, if you use Google Chrome as your browser, you can visit chrome://settings/cookies.

Preferences

These cookies allow a site to remember things that change the way a site behaves or looks.

For example, by remembering your region and preferred language, a site may be able to provide you with local weather reports in your own language. These cookies can also help in changing the text size, font and other parts of web pages that you personalise.

Most people who use Google services have a preferences cookie called ‘NID’ in their browsers. When you visit a Google service, the browser sends this cookie with your request for a page. The NID cookie contains a unique ID that we use to remember your preferences and other information, such as your preferred language, how many search results you prefer to have shown on a results page (for example, 10 or 20), and whether you want to have Google’s SafeSearch filter turned on.

Security

These cookies allow a site to authenticate users, prevent fraudulent use of sign-in credentials and protect user data from unauthorised parties.

For example, cookies called ‘SID’ and ‘HSID’ contain digitally signed and encrypted records of a user’s Google Account ID and most recent sign-in time. The combination of these cookies allows us to block many types of attack, such as attempts to steal the content of forms that you complete on web pages.

Processes

These cookies help a site deliver services and work as expected.

For example, these cookies help visitors navigate around web pages and access secure areas of a site. We use a cookie called ‘lbcs’ that makes it possible for Google Docs to open many documents in one browser.

Blocking this cookie would prevent Google Docs, and other Google services, from operating correctly.

Advertising

These cookies help make advertising more engaging to users and more valuable to publishers and advertisers.

For example, these cookies can be used to select advertising based on what’s relevant to a user, to improve reporting on campaign performance and to avoid showing ads that the user has already seen.

We use cookies like ‘NID’ and ‘SID’ to help customise ads on Google properties, like Google Search. For example, we use such cookies to remember your most recent searches, your previous interactions with an advertiser’s ads or search results, and your visits to an advertiser’s website. This helps us show you customised ads on Google.

We also use one or more cookies for advertising that we serve across the web. One of the main advertising cookies on non-Google sites is named ‘IDE‘ and is stored in browsers under the domain doubleclick.net. Another is stored in google.com and is called ‘ANID’. We use other cookies with names such as ‘DSID’, ‘FLC’, ‘AID’, ‘TAID’ and ‘exchange_uid’. Other Google properties, like YouTube, may also use these cookies to show you more relevant ads.

Sometimes advertising cookies may be set on the domain of the site that you’re visiting. For advertising that we serve across the web, cookies named ‘__gads’ or ‘__gac’ may be set on the domain of the site that you’re visiting. Unlike cookies that are set on Google’s own domains, these cookies can’t be read by Google when you’re on a site other than the one on which they were set. They serve purposes such as measuring interactions with the ads on that domain and preventing the same ads from being shown to you too many times.

Google also uses conversion cookies, for example, cookies named ‘__gcl’, whose main purpose is to help advertisers determine how many times people who click on their ads end up taking an action on their site, like making a purchase. These cookies allow Google and the advertiser to determine that you clicked the ad and later visited the advertiser’s site. Conversion cookies are not used by Google for personalised ad targeting and persist for a limited time only. Some of our other cookies may be used to measure conversion events as well. For example, Google Marketing Platform and Google Analytics cookies may also be used for this purpose.

We also use cookies named ‘AID’, ‘DSID’ and ‘TAID’, which are used to link your activity across devices if you’ve previously signed in to your Google Account on another device. We do this to coordinate the ads that you see across devices and measure conversion events. These cookies may be set on the domains google.com/ads, google.com/ads/measurement or googleadservices.com.

If you don’t want the ads that you see to be coordinated across your devices, you can opt out of Ads personalisation using Ad Settings.

Session state

These cookies help sites collect information about how a user interacts with a site, allowing the site to improve a service and the browsing experience.

For example, these cookies can be used to keep track of the pages that users visit most often and whether people get error messages from certain pages. These cookies may also be used to anonymously measure the effectiveness of pay-per- click and affiliate advertising. We use a cookie called ‘recently_watched_video_id_list’ so that YouTube can record the videos most recently watched by a particular browser.

Analytics

These cookies allow a site to understand how visitors engage with the site.

For example, Google Analytics is Google’s analytics tool that helps website and app owners to understand how their visitors engage with their properties. Google Analytics may use a set of cookies to collect information and report site usage statistics without personally identifying individual visitors to Google. The main cookie used by Google Analytics is the ‘_ga’ cookie. Analytics cookies may also be used for this purpose by Google, on Google properties.

Managing cookies in your browser

Most browsers allow you to control how cookies get used as you’re browsing.

Some browsers automatically limit or delete cookies. Also, in some browsers, you can set up rules to manage cookies on a site-by-site basis, allowing you to permit cookies only from sites that you trust.

In Google Chrome, the Settings contain an option to clear browsing data. You can use this option to delete cookies and other browsing data. See our instructions for managing cookies in Chrome.

Google Chrome also supports private browsing with its Incognito mode. You can browse in Incognito mode when you don’t want your site visits or downloads to remain in your browsing and download histories. Once you close all your Incognito browsing windows, Chrome won’t save your browsing history, cookies and other data.

Losing the information stored in cookies may make sites less functional but shouldn’t prevent them from working.

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