Google launches ad-blocking software on Android phones as part of privacy crackdown

ByLance T. Lee

Feb 16, 2022

Google is set to launch ad-blocking software on its Android mobile phone operating system as part of a privacy crackdown that will stop companies from tracking users across the internet.

The company said Android’s three billion users will eventually be able to limit the amount of data that can be shared as the tech giants face increasing pressure from customers and regulators to ensure compliance. confidentiality rules.

Apple made a similar policy change last year that gave its billion users control over the sharing of personal information, making it harder for companies to determine whether their iPhone ads were successful.

The move drew heavy criticism from Facebook owner Meta, who said it would cost it $10bn (£7.4bn) in lost revenue this year.

Tools proposed for the Android mobile operating system would limit app makers’ ability to share a person’s information with third parties and prohibit data tracking across multiple apps.

A Google spokesperson said, “Our goal…is to develop effective, privacy-enhancing advertising solutions, where users know their information is protected, and developers.”

Google has already faced criticism from advertisers for its earlier decision to eliminate tracking technology from its Chrome browser by the end of 2023.

Advertising sales account for more than 80% of revenue generated by Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

However, Google owner Alphabet said it would delay the rollout of the ad blocking software for at least two years in a kind of reprieve for mobile advertisers.

He said, “We plan to support the existing features of the ad platform for at least two years, and we intend to provide substantial notice before any future changes.”

Targeted advertising remains a lucrative source of revenue for media companies. Android devices are assigned an identity that allows advertisers to profile the user’s habits and send them marketing information about things they might be interested in.

Facebook said users targeted in this way are eight times more likely to purchase products.

When Apple’s iOS 14 technology rolled out, apps had to ask for permission to collect and share data, which meant advertisers were no longer able to track users as they moved between apps. to the other.

Following the move, advertising firm Blis said the cost of ads dropped 11% in cases where users blocked companies from tracking their activity on different apps.

Google suggested on Wednesday that its ad-blocking technology may not hit advertisers as hard as Apple’s changes did.

“We realize that other platforms have taken a different approach to ad privacy, outright limiting existing technologies used by developers and advertisers,” Google said.


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