Google Wants to Continue Selling Ads While Protecting User Privacy

Posted on August 22, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Google with 14 Comments

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.

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Comments (14)

14 responses to “Google Wants to Continue Selling Ads While Protecting User Privacy”

  1. spacein_vader

    Alternative headline: Google wants to continue eating cake while also having cake.

    • dontbeevil

      In reply to spacein_vader:

      yeah google and privacy in the same sentence, specially a title, sounds ridiculous

      • chocolate starfish

        In reply to dontbeevil:

        What is your problem with Mehedi? Why does this site allow anyone to constantly attack a writer like you are.

        You have made the same comment word for word to CompUser, blugv, red.radar and Hypnotoad all in the past day.

        "No surprise is our resident fanboy blogger hassan"

        In addition you made this comment to RM

        "No surprise is our resident fanboy blogger hassan... And i bet he'll never update the article or comment with a statement"

        • dontbeevil

          In reply to chocolate starfish:

          the problem as I stated more than once, it's his different behavior when he writes similar articles about MS, apple, google:

          • when it's up to MS he easily uses words like "copy, lame..."
          • when it's up to google and apple it never uses such words, or write the article like they implemented something new/first while ms already implemented it

          You can easily have a look about his articles and check that I'm telling the truth, I wouldn't complain if this was clearly an apple/google blog, or if it was clearly stated in the articles that they're his own opinions, but as long this supposed to be an objective website, written by journalists, I can complains in the comments... I don't think I wrote something against the rules, I didn't offend him... or do you find "apple fanboy" offensive? (yes if they call me apple fanboy I found offensive, I don't have a single apple product... but it's not the case of Hassan)

          one more thing (lol apple style) he never replied to my comments with a serious statements, it suggests he doesn't feel 100% right, I got one reply once from Hassan "shut up man" and one reply from Thurrot that called me "dick"

          • chocolate starfish

            In reply to dontbeevil:

            "one more thing (lol apple style) he never replied to my comments with a serious statements, it suggests he doesn't feel 100% right, I got one reply once from Hassan "shut up man" and one reply from Thurrot that called me "dick"

            Why would he reply to your emotionally unstable attacks? You posted the same comment three times in one thread alone. You're clearly triggered and Thurrott is spot on, you are acting like a dick.

            If you don't like Mehedi's articles then don't read them. Given you seem incapable of containing your emotions it would be mentally healthy for you to do so.

            • dontbeevil

              In reply to chocolate starfish:

              Ok Mehedi, I'm just worried for people that doesn't know you and thinks yours are professional objective journalism articles, instead they are just a fan blogger point of view, unfortunately this is not specified anywhere

            • dontbeevil

              In reply to chocolate starfish:

              Let's make a simple example, you want yo buy a car so you start to follow a website with a nautral name about cars, you don't know but who writes the articles is a bmw fanboy, so everytime there is an article about mercedes he write "lame ad", "they copied this from bmw", "lack of security"... When there is an article about bmw he writes "nice ad" (even if lame), "nice new feature" (even if copued from mercedes), "now you can jailbreak again" (instead of lack of security)... Than guess what? You'll buy a bmw thinking that you were following a serious objective journalist... And hate Mercedes

  2. jwpear

    This sounded pretty good until I got to the part about budgets. On the surface, that sounds like a complex concept that the typical user isn't going to understand. Maybe they don't have to. It's not clear. It also seems like budgets may not provide the consistency that the ad developers need to provide relevant ads in a reliable manner. What's the budget and when does the browser decide the ad developer has gotten enough information? In what way does the user control this budget?

  3. Boris Zakharin

    Protecting privacy? Hahahahahahahaha!

  4. terry jones

    The fox guarding the henhouse.

  5. Thom77

    " The company  plans to put users in different groups"

    Like they did with sites they put on their blacklist for Google News?

  6. wright_is

    How about stopping tracking altogether and basing the advertising on the sites visited? You know, like the old days, when ads had some relevance to the visitor of a site.

    All that "persoanlized" or tracking-based adverts has done is litter my path with adverts for articles I've already purchased or have no interest in.

    If I've just forked out 700€ for a dishwasher, there is little point bombarding me with adverts for dishwashers for the next 6 months, try sending me adverts for dishwashers again in 10 or 20 years. The same for smartphones, if I've just bought a new smartphone, advertisers are wasting their money if they just keep offering me other smartphones.

    Amazon is the worst offender here. It seems to think that if you've just given out over $500 for some whitegoods, that should last at least a decade, you must want more of them...

    • red.radar

      In reply to wright_is:

      It is an interesting thought.. what if the ads were based on the content of the web page you were visiting and not the demographics of the visitor?

      I don’t think I have ever purchased something because an ad educated me. I wonder what click through to purchase rates are these days

  7. waethorn

    Riiiight. And Keith Richards is running an anti-drug campaign.

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