Nr 1 limited targeted advertising features on Android
How can advertising features turn to a really useful tool ? Google’s aim is to prevent the free flow of individual user information. The changes will not be effective for two years, and Google hopes to manage to spare the advertising giants.
Google, following the example of Apple, wants to rethink its advertising targeting system on phones and tablets running its operating system, Android. The objective is to limit the sharing of information collected on users between companies in the sector. Any decision on the matter will have far-reaching effects, as approximately 70% of smartphones and tablets in the world run on Android.
In a message published on its blog on February 16, Google specifies that “the sector must continue to evolve the way digital advertising works to improve privacy” demanded by users and regulators. The challenge of balancing this goal with the need to allow advertisers to fine-tune their ads at scale.
Apple has already embarked on this path for all its smartphones and tablets, by requiring mobile application publishers to ask users if they agree to the personal information collected about them being shared with other companies for personal purposes. advertising, for example between a clothing retailer and a social network. The stated objective is to better respect the confidentiality of user data.
Attack on Apple through its advertising features
These developments are hurting some companies that make a living from advertising, which can no longer sell ads that are as targeted as before. According to Google, Apple has “brutally limited the technologies used by developers and advertisers”, and its approach “is not effective”. Also according to Google, in the absence of an alternative provided to advertisers, they could turn to more discreet tracking solutions, which ultimately “would further harm user privacy”.
The group assures that it will continue to offer the advertising tools currently on its platform “for at least two years”, the time to design and test new ones. It will likely take longer for these changes to hit the majority of users, as new versions of Android can take a long time to reach most smartphones. Google promises to consult developers and regulators alike, and to regularly share the progress of its work.
According to independent analyst Rob Enderle, “the less advertisers can monitor what users are doing, the less value they get back, and the less they are willing to pay for data.” Google, whose main revenue comes from advertising, could however be less affected by the scarcity of individual data than other players in the digital advertising sector. According to Mr. Enderle, the group could a priori always draw on the particularly vast database it has at its disposal, with for example the information retrieved when Internet users use its search engine or connect to some of its services, like Google Maps.
The end of “cookies” postponed
The company had already announced at the beginning of 2020 that it wanted, within two years, to eliminate from its Chrome browser the “cookies” of Internet sites, these small electronic identification modules which follow Internet users in their navigation on the Web to better target advertisements. But the group had to push back its schedule in order to better take into account the feedback from the various players in the sector.
It also had to agree to the UK Competition Authority, which feared that Google would strengthen its grip on the market, not to favor its own advertising features and services when third-party cookies are eliminated.