Earlier this week, Google revealed intentions to restrict ad tracking on its Android operating system, which runs on billions of devices worldwide. This is a critical privacy issue that competitor Apple has previously taken steps to address on its iPhone devices.
As users complain and regulators threaten tougher rules, tech giants are under increasing pressure to strike a better balance between privacy and ad targeting. At the same time, the companies themselves are attempting to maintain access to the valuable data that is enabling them to earn billions in ad revenue.
Apple controls over 50% of the smartphone market in the United States, while Google’s Android software is utilized on approximately 85% of smartphones worldwide.
As a result, any modifications to Android might have an influence on the data collected from billions of users.
The internet search giant provides a unique identity to Android-powered devices at the moment, allowing marketers to build a profile of people’s online behaviors and target them with advertisements that they may be interested in.
According to Google, “our objective… is to offer effective and privacy-enhancing advertising solutions, where users can be certain that their information is safeguarded, and developers and companies can be successful on mobile.”
Apple, on the other hand, said last year that users of its one billion iPhones in circulation would be able to choose whether or not to enable their internet behavior to be recorded for the purpose of targeting advertisements.
The corporation claimed that the modification demonstrated its commitment to user privacy, but opponents pointed out that it did not prevent the company from monitoring its own customers.
It is estimated that Apple’s policy would cost Facebook parent Meta $10 billion in income this year as a result of the company’s decision to make a change to its business practices.
It is predicted to have a significant effect since fewer data will influence the accuracy of the advertisements that Meta and other firms may sell, and hence their pricing.
Billions of dollars are spent on online advertising.
A timeline for the changes mentioned by Google was provided, with the company stating that “we expect to sustain current advertising platform capabilities for at least two years, and we want to offer considerable notice ahead of any future changes.”
The business said that it is working on measures to further safeguard users’ privacy, which would “restrict the exchange of user data with third parties and function without cross-app identifiers, such as advertising ID,” according to the statement.
According to the company, “we recognize that some platforms have taken a different approach to ad privacy, openly prohibiting current technology used by developers and advertisers,” in contrast to Apple’s intentions.
The news was met with a sigh of relief on social media.
As Meta’s vice president of advertising product marketing Graham Mudd pointed out on Twitter, it is “encouraging to see Google taking such a long-term, collaborative approach to privacy-protective tailored advertising.”
While Google claims that the modifications would preserve users’ privacy, it is possible that the adjustments will only serve to cement the already dominant position the internet giant currently has in the digital advertising market.
Google’s parent company Alphabet earned more than $60 billion in ad revenue alone in the fourth quarter of 2021, accounting for more than 80% of the company’s total revenue.
“There are many workarounds for Google (tracking). They are monitoring so much of what you do, and they have so much power over what happens in the online search environment, that it is impossible to avoid them “Rob Enderle, a market analyst, said that
“Tracking is considerably more essential to Facebook than it is to Google,” he said, alluding to the search giant’s several web services, which provide more diverse sources of user data than Facebook’s one online service.