Google follows Apple's lead and makes it hard for advertisers to track users on Android


June 8, 2021: -Google is tightening the privacy practices that could make it harder for companies to track users on Android phones and tablets.

Google already allows Android users to opt out of personalized ads. But even if users do that, software developers can still access the Advertising ID of the user, a unique string of characters that identifies the user’s device. Firms can use this Advertising ID to allow developers to measure app usage or let advertisers detect and prevent invalid traffic.

The company said in a policy update that its rollout could affect the apps running on Android 12 devices beginning in late 2021 and will expand to apps running on devices that support Google Play in early 2022. In addition, it said it would “provide an alternate solution to support essential use cases like analytics and fraud prevention” in July.

With regulators looking closer at user privacy and consumers becoming more concerned about using their data, tech giants are trying to get ahead by making changes in the name of privacy. For example, Google said in early 2020 that it would end support for third-party cookies on its Chrome browser within two years.

But with advertising making up about 80% of the revenue of Google, it also needs to keep advertisers happy by offering alternative ways to place ads in front of users they are trying to reach and track their effectiveness. The company is in the market leader in online advertising for more than a decade and is expected to command around a 29% share of digital ad spending worldwide in 2021, according to eMarketer.

Changes of Google will follow other changes Apple recently made for iOS devices, but are not as dramatic. For example, apple’s changes make it easy for iPhone and iPad users to opt-out of the kind of tracking that helps advertisers target ads or measure if the ads work by placing a prompt in front of them whenever a new app is opened. Facebook objected strongly to the changes and said that users would see less relevant ads and those small businesses would be affected as targeted advertising got harder.

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