Tech

Google Exploring Alternative to Apple’s New Anti-Tracking Feature

Google is exploring a new alternative to Apple’s new anti-tracking feature as the Internet industry is slowly embracing user privacy.

Internally, Google is discussing how it can limit data collection and cross-app tracking on the Android operating system in a way that is less stringent than Apple’s solution said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private plans.

Google is trying to fulfill the demands of privacy-conscious consumers with the financial needs of developers and advertisers. The Alphabet unit is seeking input from these stakeholders, similar to how it’s slowly developing a new privacy standard for web browsing called the Privacy Sandbox.

With more than USD 100 billion in annual digital advertisement sales, Google has a vested interest in helping partners to continue generating revenue by targeting advertisements to Android device users and measuring the performance of those marketing spots.

A Google spokesperson said, “We are always looking at ways to work with developers to raise the bar on privacy while enabling a healthy, ad oriented app ecosystem.”

In the software update for iPhone models and iPad units, iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5, Apple is adding a new feature called App Tracking Transparency. The tool lets consumers choose whether apps can collect data about them across other apps and websites. The move has shaken the digital advertising industry. Facebook and other companies have complained the feature will limit their ability to effectively serve personalized advertisements and generate revenue.

A Google solution is likely to be less strict and won’t require a prompt to opt into data tracking like Apple’s, the people said. The exploration into an Android alternative to Apple’s feature is still in the early stages.

On the iPhone, Google even offers developers a framework to help them monetize their apps using Google ads. In a recent blog post, Google said Apple’s advertisement-tracking update means developers may see a significant impact on their advertisement revenue.

To keep advertisers happy while improving privacy, the considerations around Google’s Android solution indicate that it could be similar to its planned Chrome Web browser changes. The company said in 2020 that it plans to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome in about two years. Google reaffirmed that plan earlier this year. Cookies are a way for websites to track users around the web to serve them more personalized ads.

 

Google’s Web alternative, known as the Privacy Sandbox, allows some advertisement targeting with less-specific data collection. As part of that solution, the company has developed a technology called Federated Learning of Cohorts that lets advertisers target groups of people with similar interests rather than individuals. Google is likely to take a similar approach with Android.

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