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Google introduces privacy-centric initiative for ads

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Google had already started making changes to the advertising ID to improve privacy and security, but phasing it out entirely indicates a complete overhaul to how users are targeted. (Reuters/File Photo)

DUBAI: Google has announced that it is starting a multi-year initiative to change the way it tracks people and allows advertising targeting on the web and Android devices.

Titled the “Privacy Sandbox,” the initiative aims to introduce newer and more private advertising solutions, Anthony Chavez, vice-president, product management, Android Security & Privacy, said in a blog post.

“Specifically, these solutions will limit sharing of user data with third parties and operate without cross-app identifiers, including advertising ID,” he wrote.

An advertising ID is a unique code assigned to each user that helps build a profile of the user, which in turn is used for ad targeting. Google had already started making changes to the advertising ID to improve privacy and security, but phasing it out entirely indicates a complete overhaul to how users are targeted.

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Read Also: New regional Twitter campaign highlights platform’s safety measures

The web version of Privacy Sandbox will phase out third-party cookies and limit covert tracking.

The move is similar to Apple’s approach, which includes features that protect user data and privacy, such as the App Tracking Transparency feature, which explicitly asks users to choose between “Allow” and “Ask App Not to Track” their activity across other companies’ apps and websites.

Addressing initiatives taken by other platforms such as Apple, Chavez wrote: “We realize that other platforms have taken a different approach to ads privacy, bluntly restricting existing technologies used by developers and advertisers. We believe that — without first providing a privacy-preserving alternative path — such approaches can be ineffective and lead to worse outcomes for user privacy and developer businesses.”

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Unlike Apple, Google seems to be receiving a positive response. The blog post features comments from developer partners such as Snap, Duolingo and others.

“At Snap, we’ve made privacy a priority and placed it at the center of how we design our products. We are excited to collaborate with Google to develop new privacy-preserving standards for Android,” said the company in a statement.

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