Google to mimic Apple and tighten up Android privacy

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2021
Google is following in Apple's footsteps and making it harder for companies to track users on Android with a small policy change related to device identifiers.

Credit: Google
Credit: Google


The Mountain View company already allows Android users to opt-out of targeted advertising. However, even if they do, third parties are still able to see a user's Advertising ID, a unique device identifier designed to assist in ad performance tracking.

With Apple's App Tracking Transparency now available, Google plans to shore up its own privacy policies with a similar change. Essentially, if a user opts out of tracking, companies won't see the Advertising ID. Instead, they'll see a blank string of zeroes.

The move will take effect across Google Play services in "late 2021," the company said. It'll first arrive on apps running on Android 12 devices before expanding to other devices that support Google Play in early 2022.

Google says it'll provide an "alternate solution to support essential use cases such as analytics and fraud prevention" sometime in July 2021.

Back in May, Google also said it would add a new "safety section" with privacy and security information to Google Play app listings. That feature echoed Apple's own privacy "nutrition labels."

The search giant, still heavily reliant on advertising revenue, is following a broader trend of pro-privacy policies in the technology industry. This comes amid increasing scrutiny from both regulators and customers who are becoming more concerned about the use of their data.

Google's changes are not as dramatic as Apple's, however. Apple's ATT feature, which launched earlier in the year, makes it easy for users to opt out of all tracking. According to a May survey, 96% of iPhone users are taking advantage of the feature to block access to their data.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 4
    digitoldigitol Posts: 264member
    It’s actually quite hilarious to see Apple pull this evil genius move on competitors rather than their own user base for once. Cmon, we all know “competitors” all copy and try and follow Apple’s game plans, but this! This is just hilarious. Yea, go ahead google, copy us and promote privacy, which ultimately means less add revenue for you. says Apple.  Google has set up almost its entire plan on ad based monetization. Let’s see how well that goes for them.  Apple has setup everybody but them to a race for the bottom.  Evil genius. 
    edited June 2021
  • Reply 2 of 4
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,467member
    digitol said:
    It’s actually quite hilarious to see Apple pull this evil genius move on competitors rather than their own user base for once. Yea, go ahead google, copy us and promote privacy, which ultimately means less add revenue for you. says Apple.  
    It would be if it were going to work like Apple's ATT, but it won't. Google will absolutely exempt itself from following rules it sets for others (it already does this) -- this is just Google pretending to do something pro-"privacy" but will in fact consolidate Google as almost the sole source for invasive data-mining to the level of info on users that Apple has just blocked. Google is betting -- perhaps correctly -- that Apple's moves will cause advertisers who have convinced themselves that they have to get the ultimate level of data about (and the ability to manipulate) users to flock to Google and Android.
    williamlondoncrossladwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 4
    williamlondonwilliamlondon Posts: 1,114member
    Interesting the note about devices supporting Google Play, how many does that omit? Also, if apps are side loaded, can they bypass entirely any of these half-"measures"?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 4
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,364member
    chasm said:
    digitol said:
    It’s actually quite hilarious to see Apple pull this evil genius move on competitors rather than their own user base for once. Yea, go ahead google, copy us and promote privacy, which ultimately means less add revenue for you. says Apple.  
    It would be if it were going to work like Apple's ATT, but it won't. Google will absolutely exempt itself from following rules it sets for others (it already does this) -- this is just Google pretending to do something pro-"privacy" but will in fact consolidate Google as almost the sole source for invasive data-mining to the level of info on users that Apple has just blocked. Google is betting -- perhaps correctly -- that Apple's moves will cause advertisers who have convinced themselves that they have to get the ultimate level of data about (and the ability to manipulate) users to flock to Google and Android.
    Google already stated they would follow the same rules didn't they? Surely you looked before commenting. 

    As for advertising I don't see any reason for revenues to take a nosedive. Companies will still advertise just as much as ever and Google will remain the number one provider for those companies advertising online. It will just not be as connected to an identifiable "person" and third parties won't be able to put together their own private profiling using personal data derived from using Android devices. 
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