Google is exploring an alternative to Apple Inc.’s new anti-tracking feature, the latest sign that the internet industry is slowly embracing user privacy, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Internally, the search giant is discussing how it can limit data collection and cross-app tracking on the Android operating system in a way that is less stringent than Apple’s solution.
However, the report confirms that Google may not go as hard as Apple, with its implementation of anti-tracking feature for users. It adds that the company seeks input from stakeholders to develop ideas for the new anti-tracking feature.
If the report is to be believed, we can assume that the industry heavyweights are finally feeling the need to impose a check on the user data being collected after Apple announced its App Tracking Transparency feature earlier this year.
Without confirming the plans about a new anti-tracking feature, a Google spokesperson told Bloomberg that the company keeps looking to work with developers to come up with a “healthy, ad-supported app ecosystem.”
Notably, Google is working on a new privacy standard for the web called Privacy Sandbox. The company describes the project as “Privacy Sandbox project’s mission is to create a thriving web ecosystem that is respectful of users and private by default.”
A Google solution is likely to be less strict and won’t require a prompt to opt in to data tracking like Apple’s. The exploration into an Android alternative to Apple’s feature is still in the early stages, and Google hasn’t decided when, or if, it will go ahead with the changes.
On the iPhone, Google offers developers a framework so they can monetize their apps using Google ads. In a recent blog post, Google said Apple’s ad-tracking update means developers “may see a significant impact” on their ad revenue.
To keep advertisers happy while improving privacy, the discussions around Google’s Android solution indicate that it could be similar to its planned Chrome web browser changes, the people said.
The company said in 2020 that it intended to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome within two years. Google reaffirmed that plan earlier this year. Cookies are a way for websites to track users around the web to serve them more personalized ads.
Apple has already started implementing its App Tracking Transparency with the latest iOS 14.5 beta update. Under the new framework, app developers have to use the AppTracking Transparency framework if their app collects data about end-users and shares it with other companies to track across apps and web sites.