Selling ads is a big part of Google’s business. And with the recent crackdown on online tracking and users being more protective over their data, Google is taking steps to make sure its business, along with publishers and advertisers, don’t get hurt. The company is proposing a new plan it calls the Privacy Sandbox, a new system that will implement standards that allow advertisers to sell ads without harming user privacy.
The company says developers are finding new ways of tracking users with techniques like fingerprinting which are more harmful to a user’s privacy than cookies. Blocking cookies, on the other hand, reduces many publishers’ funding by jeopardizing their ways of promoting relevant content to users.
And thus, Google’s new Privacy Sandbox plans aim to restrict techniques like fingerprinting and give users more control over their privacy. The company says it has started sharing ideas for its Privacy Sandbox with others in the industry. The company is looking into ways of continuing to deliver relevant ads to users while making sure the data as anonymous as possible, and keeping much more of a user’s data on-device only.
One of the things Google is working on, for example, is a privacy budget. The company plans to put users in different groups — for example, it can group users who are interested in Pixel 3 and show them ads about the device without having information on every single user. Publishers will then be provided with a “budget” for API calls that they can keep calling to get user data until they have reached the budget, large enough to narrow a user down to a group. This way, browsers will stop allowing sites to get more data on you than they actually need to put you in a group for the relevant ads.
Google is just getting started here with the Privacy Sandbox, but it sounds like a really good move if you care about privacy. When and whether the plans will actually go ahead and be implemented as actual features remains to be seen, so don’t get your hopes up just yet.