Google extends browser data tracking limits to apps – NationNews Barbados – nationnews.com
Google’s plan to limit data tracking on its Chrome browser has been extended to cover apps on its Android-based smartphones.
Its so-called Privacy Sandbox project aims to limit the amount of user data that advertisers can collect.
Rival Apple now requires app developers to ask users for permission before tracking them.
The news will be a blow to companies like Meta, which plan to put their code on apps to track consumer behavior.
Meta said this month that Apple’s changes will cost it $10bn (£7.3bn) this year. Google’s Android operating system is used by approximately 85% of smartphone owners worldwide.
Third-party cookies, which use users’ browsing history to target ads, will be phased out of Google’s Chrome browser by 2023.
In a blog post, Google said it was now extending what it calls its Privacy Sandbox to Android apps and was working on solutions that would limit the sharing of user data and “work without cross-app identifiers, including the advertising”.
These identifiers are linked to smartphones and are used by applications to collect information. Google said it will keep them in place for at least two years while it works “with the industry” on a new system.
“We are also exploring technologies that reduce the potential for secret data collection, including safer ways for apps to integrate with advertising SDKs (software development kits),” he added.
The tech giant hasn’t said how it plans to do this.
Apple decided in April last year that app developers should explicitly ask users for permission to use IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers). Data from advertising firm Flurry Analytics, and published by Apple, suggests that US users opt out of tracking 96% of the time.
Google’s blog did not name Apple, but instead referred to “other platforms” which it said “have taken a different approach to ad privacy, outright limiting existing technologies used by developers and advertisers”.
“We believe that – without first providing an alternative path that preserves privacy – such approaches may be ineffective,” he added.
Google, unlike Apple, depends on ad revenue.
Google’s attempts to create alternatives to third-party cookies on its Chrome browser have not gone smoothly. (BBC)