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Google is reportedly taking a page from Apple’s privacy playbook with its new anti-tracking feature.
Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg last week suggested the search giant is “discussing how it can limit data collection and cross-app tracking on the Android operating system in a way that is less stringent than Apple’s solution.”
The move, Bloomberg reported, aims to balance consumers’ privacy concerns with the financial needs of developers and advertisers. Boasting more than $100 billion in annual digital ad sales, Google has a lot riding on targeted promotions.
“We’re always looking for ways to work with developers to raise the bar on privacy while enabling a healthy, ad-supported app ecosystem,” a company spokesperson said in an email to Bloomberg. Google did not immediately respond to PCMag’ request for comment.
Cupertino recently unveiled its own anti-tracking function, which will opt users out of ad tracking by default. Simply open an app for the first time and choose to “Allow Tracking” or “Ask Apps Not to Track.” The feature, according to AppleInsider, is expected in “early spring”—as part of the next iOS beta cycle.
Google, however, is hoping to come up with a less stringent option that won’t require a prompt to opt into data tracking. Development is still in the early stages, and the firm “hasn’t decided when, or if, it will go ahead with the changes,” Bloomberg said.
An Android solution may turn out like Google’s planned changes to the Chrome web browser, which, beginning in April, will include a new on-off switch for the company’s Privacy Sandbox initiative—an attempt to phase out third-party cookies with an in-house alternative. Moving forward this spring, Chrome will group internet users with similar browsing patterns, allowing businesses to serve relevant ads to those clusters, therefore removing the need to track individuals.
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