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Exploring a Privacy First Web Future

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Throughout 2021 Google has acknowledged that the proliferation of advertising-based tracking on the web has eroded the trust of its users. Google, which earns over 80% of its revenue from advertising, is now saying that it will improve privacy and reduce online tracking while protecting its digital advertising business. The big question the digital advertising industry has is, how?

“As our industry has strived to deliver relevant ads to consumers across the web, it has created a proliferation of individual user data across thousands of companies, typically gathered through third-party cookies,”

David Temkin – Director of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Trust – Google

Last year, Google updated Chrome so that it no longer supports third-party cookies, and the firm has been working with the industry to create a Privacy Sandbox that will “protect anonymity while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.”

It is currently a little unclear how Google could ever find a happy balance between the audience and advertiser, google now highlights that it doesn’t really need to do much more to protect its users’ privacy.

“Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.”

David Temkin – Director of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Trust – Google

Google has been the focus of a lot of industry pressure, currently the subject of investigations from multiple regulators, concerned about Google’s market dominance in an increasingly complex online ad ecosystem. The search and advertising giant also received a 100 million euro fine from French data regulators late last year for its use of advertising cookies. The common topic around this conversation is how google will use its dominance in the industry to set a standard that the ethical and trusted.

So what’s Google’s alternative? Its products will instead be powered by “privacy-preserving APIs” that prevent individual tracking while still supporting the needs of its advertisers.

In short, the solution coming from google will include advanced audience aggregations, anonymisation, on-device processing and other privacy-preserving technologies. Google firmly believes that while they will see a drop in advertiser revenue and performance, the long term impact on individual privacy is an easy case to validate against the potential loss in revenue. Despite the changes to privacy, Google is committed to keeping the internet open and accessible for everyone and to do this, requires all of us to do more to protect privacy.

Google plans to replace third party cookies, proposing to group internet users of common interests together, keep explicit browsing history offline, and use a trusted, in-house server to store ads.

The plan is somewhere between Google’s previous pervasive user tracking across the internet and the increasing trend to block it altogether, such as with Apple and Firefox.

For advertisers and publishers, Google claims its alternative would lead to an at most five per cent drop in conversions, compared to third party cookies.

For users, Google hopes the privacy improvements will be enough to convince them not to opt-out altogether from tracking, thereby preserving the current model of advertiser-supported online content and the tech giant’s own business model.

If you are your business are using data and have not given appropriate consideration to how the laws affect you, it is time to give this some time. At DigiBubble, we work with CaPs Limited, data protection and data compliance specialists to ensure all our clients are utilising data appropriately and safely. The conversation around this topic is not slowing or going away, make sure you are protected from whatever the future holds.



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