Google is following in Apple’s tracks in securing users’ data privacy by restricting advertisers from tracking users activity on Android phones. The company had revealed plans to restrict data tracking on the chrome browser, and is now extending the same to apps on Android through a Privacy Sandbox Project.
Rival Apple already requires app developers to obtain permission from users before their devices are tracked. Apps including diet and fitness to mobile games must all ask for permission. According to Flurry Analytics, about three-quarters of iOS users opt out of being tracked. This has sent shockwaves through the multibillion-dollar targeted advertising sector.
Vice President of product management for Android Security & Privacy Anthony Chavez said the company would develop alternative methods for software developers to access mobile users while protecting users’ data.
In a blog post published on Wednesday, Google slammed Apple’s privacy reforms, calling them a “blunt” approach that was unsuccessful and could “end to poorer consequences for user privacy and developer businesses.” According to Google, simply turning off tracking would jeopardize consumers’ ability to access free mobile content.
“Mobile apps are a core part of our everyday lives. Currently over 90% of the apps on Google Play are free, providing access to valuable content and services to billions of users. Digital advertising plays a key role in making this possible,” the company said in its post.
Google currently includes a unique identifier called Advertising ID on all android devices. This helps marketers access your activity across all apps, allowing them to build a comprehensive picture of your interests and activities.
“Advertisers are reliant on the current tracking mechanisms, and Advertising ID, just like they are on cookies, because it allows them to have a broader picture of their consumers,” Lauren Wetzel, an analyst from privacy-focused data company said.
Google said the current mechanism would remain in place for two years, as it develops a new system.
“We’re also exploring technologies that reduce the potential for covert data collection, including safer ways for apps to integrate with advertising SDK (software developer kits),” the tech giant said in the blog.
Meta already attributed at least $10 billion of its losses this year to Apple’s privacy changes. If Google goes through with its privacy sandbox project, the figures could be higher given that more than 85 percent of the world’s population use Android. Meta relies on adding its code