Technology giant Google announced Wednesday, March 3, 2021, that it will stop selling and pushing for targeted advertisements based on users’ web browsing history. The company’s decision comes as it slated to phase out its third-party cookies in the next year, reports Reuters.
Apart from removing its third-party cookies, Alphabet Inc’s Google also pledges that it will not leverage other alternative web browsing traffic tracking options once it has phased out the said cookies from its Chrome browser.
This move is considered highly revolutionary in the digital advertising industry. The Wall Street Journal maintains that this could pave the way for other companies such as Google to veer away from individualized tracking technologies, especially amid the increasing pressure from privacy activists.
In a blog post by the director of product management for ads privacy and trust at Google David Temkin, he said that “Keeping the internet open and accessible for everyone requires all of us to do more to protect privacy – and that means an end to not only third-party cookies, but also any technology used for tracking individual people as they browse the web.”
Reuters said that for years, these privacy advocates have maintained that such tracking technologies allow tech firms to infiltrate the personal space of the user, and by extension, allow them to create user profiles based on the browsing usage and interests of the said individual. In turn, this moves them to serve targeted ads.
Besides fortifying the privacy and protection of individuals, the Wall Street Journal states that this will also prevent such technologies from “uniquely [identifying]” users and what they look for across various websites.
In addition, the Wall Street Journal also states this measure could provide a more accurate representation of the organic effectiveness of ads.
Instead, the blog post from Google states that the tech giant will turn to “privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.” Unlike web browser trackers, these APIs highlight anonymization and aggregation of data.
With relationships reportedly at the core of Google’s business, it is still seeking ways it can bring business ads to interested users.
As part of its move and commitment towards change, the company has also launched the Privacy Sandbox Initiative that bridges the gap between privacy and availability of content on the Internet, notes CNBC.
Reuters reports that Google’s other rival companies that have already started their move towards identifying users via anonymization. These include the likes of Criteo SA and The Trade Desk.