Google’s privacy plans will soon encompass Android, as the search giant will take many of the same steps as Apple to limit consumer tracking on mobile devices.
On Wednesday, Google updated what it calls Privacy Sandbox, an initiative launched last year to apply stricter data controls to the internet. Privacy Sandbox focused on Chrome web browsers first, but now is coming to Android. The advertising industry has been waiting for Google to provide details about its Android privacy plans, as they promise to affect ad targeting and measurement, just like Apple has done on iPhones.
Google’s update gave the first hints of the Android roadmap, but it was careful to distance the policies from Apple, suggesting that it would only change advertising on mobile devices after consulting with ad industry stakeholders.
“We’re announcing a multi-year initiative to build the Privacy Sandbox on Android, with the goal of introducing new, more private advertising solutions … these solutions will limit sharing of user data with third parties and operate without cross-app identifiers,” Anthony Chavez, VP of product management, Android security and privacy, said in Wednesday’s announcement,
Google said it would “limit” data-sharing through the advertising ID, a unique code for each device used to target and measure ads. Google’s outline looked similar to Apple’s more recent changes that impacted the advertising industry, but ad tech executives said Google appeared more measured.
“The Privacy Sandbox on Android builds on our existing efforts on the web, providing a clear path forward to improve user privacy, while giving developers and businesses the tools they need to succeed on mobile,” Chavez said in an email to Ad Age.
Google’s timeline forecasted that the privacy initiatives on Android would launch a testing phase by the end of the year with “scaled testing” in 2023.
“Google extended the rollout,” said Charles Manning, CEO of Kochava, the mobile app attribution and analytics platform. “It’s not going to be an overnight exercise where they switch off access to the advertising ID.”
“Google is also providing a roadmap on how the ecosystem can participate to accomplish both targeting and measurement in the absence of that ID,” Manning said.
“We plan to support existing ads platform features, including Advertising ID, for at least two years and we intend to provide substantial notice ahead of any future changes,” Chavez said in the email to Ad Age.