Google says it's bringing Apple-like privacy features to Android

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Google has announced that it would be bringing Apple-like privacy changes to Android, but promised that the updates wouldn't be as "disruptive" as features like App Tracking Transparency.

Credit: Google
Credit: Google


The planned Android changes are aimed at limiting the sharing of data across apps and third-party websites, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Google didn't outline a release timeline, but said it would support existing privacy technologies for at least two more years.

In contrast to Apple, Google emphasized that the goal of its privacy changes would be to find a more private option for users that also allows developers to continue making money off of advertising.

More specifically, the changes will adopt some of the browser-based privacy features on its Chrome browser for Android. Google's current privacy initiative is dubbed Project Sandbox.

Google said its privacy-minded features would allow advertisers to gauge the performance of ad campaigns and place personalized ads based on recent interests or past behavior. They would also limit the covert tracking of users.

The company did not offer many other details about how the new changes would work, however. It did say it plans on removing the Advertising ID tracker and would eventually phase out the use of identifiers in advertising on Android in general.

Apple's privacy changes, which includes App Tracking Transparency, also limit the sharing of data with third parties and other apps. The iPhone maker released the privacy update back in early 2021 following a campaign against the feature led by advertising-reliant companies like Facebook.

App Tracking Transparency requires developers to explicitly ask permission before they track users -- and it has had a significant impact on advertising revenue. Earlier in February, Facebook parent company Meta said that its social media platform could take a $10 billion revenue hit from Apple's iOS privacy changes.

Google's emphasis on supporting advertisers underscores the difference between the two companies. Google makes most of its cash from advertising, while Apple generates the majority of its revenue through hardware sales.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,130member
    In other words worthless security and business as usual. 
    Alex_Vaddison huyBeatswilliamlondonStrangeDayschiaviclauyycbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 16
    Apparently simply asking for consent is “disruptive”. Well, I guess it is if your business model relies on practices that are so shady you don’t want to tell users what you’re doing.
    rob53Alex_Vmike1BeatsStrangeDayschiaF_Kent_Dviclauyycbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 16
    Sure the fox does a great job guarding that hen house. 
    Alex_VforegoneconclusionhydrogenBeatsStrangeDayschiaF_Kent_Dviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 16
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 643member
    rob53 said:
    In other words worthless security and business as usual. 
    Not exactly. It's Google making their competitors' data less valuable. Most people who use Android use it with a Google account. Google can, of course, track all the activity on your Google account such as which applications you buy. Removing advertising IDs which in-app ads from other companies can use prevents those advertisers from recognizing that you see their adds from multiple applications. Google can still tell, though.

    This is textbook anticompetitive behavior, but is actually an improvement if you use Android without a Google account.
    edited February 2022 dewmeviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 16
    Alex_VAlex_V Posts: 145member
    rob53 said:
    In other words worthless security and business as usual. 

    Yes, I presume that, in time, Google’s privacy initiative will be mostly about preventing other companies from gate-crashing their party. There is no chance that Google will kill their golden goose. Constructing detailed, intimate profiles of citizens/consumers (like nothing that has existed before), tracking them on the web and beyond, and serving them as targets to advertisers for all manner of manipulation, will be “the greatest show on earth”—ripe for all kinds of organisations to exploit. Whatever Google earns now is a drop in the bucket compared to its future potential.
    edited February 2022 rob53watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 16
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    Excuse me but when the literal life-blood of your business model is selling consumer data to advertisers any action to make things more private seems like an empty, if not disingenuous, promise. We’ll see, we’ll see, but remember what happened to Facebook (oh excuse the hell out of me, I meant META) when Apple’s tracking policy took hold... they crashed and burned.

    And since when has the typical Android user cared about privacy?
    edited February 2022 Alex_Vviclauyycpaxmanbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 16
    I don’t trust a word that company says when it talks about privacy. Google wants everyone’s data they don’t care about privacy they want to use people’s data to make money. This is such a joke. Just like Meta and privacy.  
    Alex_Vbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 16
    lkrupp said:
    Excuse me but when the literal life-blood of your business model is selling consumer data to advertisers any action to make things more private seems like an empty, if not disingenuous, promise. We’ll see, we’ll see, but remember what happened to Facebook (oh excuse the hell out of me, I meant META) when Apple’s tracking policy took hold... they crashed and burned.

    And since when has the typical Android user cared about privacy?
    And since when has the typical Android user cared about privacy?
    LOL
    Alex_VBeatsjcs2305chiaF_Kent_Dwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 16
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,869member
    What this tells me is that Google's own market research is indicating that privacy (thanks partly to Apple putting it front and center) is turning into a big concern for smartphone buyers (especially the more affluent and hence profitable segment) and so they're is launching a major fig leaf operation to make it look like they care.  Of course they're also signaling their customers, i.e. advertisers, that it's all cosmetic.
    edited February 2022 Alex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 16
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    Google is a spyware company. How could they care?

    Although I did hear Coca Cola was investing billions to keep kids away from sugar and snacks. You will need a driver’s license now to purchase their junk food and when kids try to eat/drink their crap a laser will zap their forehead and shock them.

    See how ridiculous that sounds? This article sounds WORSE because Google is claiming to keep 100% of their customers safe from their golden goose of stealing personal data. 
    jcs2305viclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 16
    And consumer access to view or change settings on these wonderful new Apple-like privacy features will be buried up to nine levels deep across forty different apps within the Android operating system...
    edited February 2022 F_Kent_Dwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 16
    F_Kent_DF_Kent_D Posts: 98unconfirmed, member
    mdwychoff said:
    And consumer access to view or change settings on these wonderful new Apple-like privacy features will be buried up to nine levels deep across forty different apps within the Android operating system...
    Yes and anyone that’s used Android for any time knows there is no central setting for (all) Apps. Don’t forget to chant the privacy settings for that App you use only once a month or so cause it’s still tracking everything you do. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 16
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,725member
    lkrupp said:
    Excuse me but when the literal life-blood of your business model is selling consumer data to advertisers any action to make things more private seems like an empty, if not disingenuous, promise. We’ll see, we’ll see, but remember what happened to Facebook (oh excuse the hell out of me, I meant META) when Apple’s tracking policy took hold... they crashed and burned.

    And since when has the typical Android user cared about privacy?
    Indeed. I'd like to say 'Thank you, Apple', but that would imply that what Google is doing is actually Apple, like. In many other regards, perhaps, but in this case colour me sceptical. Very sceptical. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 16
    Everything will be fine!
    Alex_Vdanoxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 16
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,916member
    Me too……..
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 16
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 3,035member
    Google should just be honest and make their case that ad tracking is totally innocuous and actually really good for people. I don't believe that, but they do and their entire business is based on it. 

    By taking this obviously hypocritical approach, they are both endorsing Apple's position that ad-tracking is bad while not convincing anybody that they are doing anything serious about it. As a wise person once said, 'hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue' -- if Google were smart, they wouldn't pay that tribute. Instead, they'd argue that what Apple says is a vice is actually a virtue. 
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
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