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  • Kyle Chua

Google’s Plans To Limit App Tracking on Android, Unlike Apple’s iOS Changes, Has Meta’s Support

Google on Wednesday announced it’s adopting new privacy measures on Android that would limit how apps track users.

Called Privacy Sandbox, the multi-year initiative looks to build privacy-focused solutions for the company’s mobile software that would allow it to operate without unique identifiers. These identifiers are what give third parties the ability to track users and show them ads based on their data. The company is also exploring technologies that could reduce the chances of users’ data being collected without them knowing about it.

The announcement follows a similar move from Apple last year that saw the iPhone maker give users the ability to opt-out of having apps track their behaviour. This move would prove disruptive for companies whose digital ad targeting system relies on tracking user interests, such as Meta. The change was so disruptive that it was blamed for the social network company’s disappointing earnings report this year, which wiped out more than US$200 billion in market value.

Google, without naming Apple, however, said that its approach won’t be as “blunt” as other platforms.

“Our goal with the Privacy Sandbox on Android is to develop effective and privacy-enhancing advertising solutions, where users know their information is protected, and developers and businesses have the tools to succeed on mobile,” wrote Anthony Chavez, VP of Product Management for Android.

He added that they plan to continue to support the existing tracking system for at least two more years, noting how a "substantial notice" to the industry will be provided before the changes are implemented.

Unlike Apple, Google’s plans appear to have Meta’s support. Graham Mudd, Facebook’s Vice President of Product Marketing, Ads and Business, tweeted that it’s “encouraging to see this long-term, collaborative approach to privacy-protective personalized advertising from Google”.

“We look forward to continued work with them and the industry on privacy-enhancing tech through industry groups,” he wrote a couple of days before he announced he was leaving Meta.

Meta said Mudd’s tweet represents the company’s official statement on the matter, as The New York Post points out.

  • Google announced it's adopting new privacy measures on Android that would limit the ability of apps to track users.

  • It follows a similar move from Apple last year that upended Meta's ad targeting system and hurt the social networking company's bottom line.

  • But Google's approach to the changes, unlike Apple's, appear to have Meta's support.

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