In a blog post Wednesday, Google shared plans to begin phasing out cross-app ad trackers on Android devices. As for what this means exactly, Google currently assigns Android users unique advertising IDs which advertisers can then use to track a person’s activity across a variety of apps.
With the data collected, advertisers are better able to deliver targeted ads based around what they think the individual would prefer to see. It’s like when you’re thinking of buying a gaming chair, you Google a few options to see what’s available, and then all of a sudden you start seeing ads for gaming chairs everywhere.
Obviously there are huge privacy concerns that come with this, and Google points to this issue as one of the main reasons why they plan to start dialing things back.
The move by Google to phase out cross-app ad tracking is similar to one made by Apple last year when it introduced its App Tracking Transparency feature. With this feature, Apple users are made aware of an app’s ability to track data for advertising purposes, and are able to block the app’s ability to do so if they wish.
When Apple first introduced this feature, companies like Facebook (Meta) pushed back hard as the move negatively impacted sales and resulted in $232 billion being wiped from the company’s market cap in a day.
Strangely though, despite being critical of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature, Facebook has seemingly had nothing but positive things to say in response to Google’s announcement.
Graham Mudd, Vice President of Product Marketing, Ads, and Business at Facebook, even tweeted the following in regards to Google’s decision:
Encouraging to see this long-term, collaborative approach to privacy-protective personalized advertising from Google. We look forward to continued work with them and the industry on privacy-enhancing tech through industry groups.https://t.co/UdrlTLJmsz— Graham Mudd (@grahammudd) February 16, 2022
Not only has Google seen more support for its decision to step away from cross-app ad tracking, it also took a few shots at Apple in its announcement. Even though Apple isn’t named directly, it isn’t hard to decipher which company Google is referring to.
As pointed out by outlets like The Washington Post, these changes will improve privacy for Android users but are also concerning in that they could “give Google even more power over digital advertising” and are likely to “deepen concerns regulators have already expressed about the company’s competitive practices.”
The Washington Post article goes on to point out that Google is currently the most dominant digital advertising company in the world, racking up $61 billion in ad revenue during the fourth quarter of 2021 alone.
It makes sense when taking all of this into account that there’d be concerns, not only those pointed out by The Washington Post, but also those pointed out by advertisers, app developers, and regulators as well.
To the company’s credit though, Google is making it so developers can share feedback, and we imagine Google will receive no shortage of feedback as it adjusts its advertising practices.
Want to learn more about Google’s changes to cross-app ad tracking? Click here to read through the full blog post that was shared today. Also be sure to brush up on related articles including one where roughly 95% of US Apple users opted out of App Tracking for iOS 14.5.
Morgan Shaver posted a new article, Google to limit cross-app ad tracking on Android
Good, rip Facebook
Good that they say they’re starting a “multi-year” initiative.
Count down to the cancellation of the initiative?
This stuff needs to be put into law at a much more fundamental level. No one should be able to track individual users and sell their information without their express, explicit, obvious consent. That’s not limited to just apps but it should include your ISP, your grocery store, your mobile phone provider, and so on and so forth.
Google and Apple are themselves advertising companies and they’re definitely not going to do anything that hurts THEIR bottom line. So maybe these things make things a tiny bit better but there’s a much bigger picture here where nothing is being done.
seems like antitrust if google uses it for themselves
People hate Facebook so much they'll support Google, doing the same kind of tracking, leveraging their mobile OS to anitcompetitively handicap tracking of behaviors on the platform by anyone but themselves.
Mmhm Ars call it toothless. I have to agree: