While all this gets Google a lot of good press, it remains to be seen how it implements this system without shooting itself in the foot because, in the end, its revenue comes from the same kind of spying on users that Zuckerberg’s company does.
Since Apple introduced in iOS the ability to cut the data tracking of apps, preventing them from tracking users’ activity and trading with their data, Facebook (now Meta) and other companies have come to the fore to criticize this decision. The reason: their revenues have dropped considerably since this measure, causing a sort of ‘pique’ between Zuckerberg and Apple. Now it is Google’s turn, which will do the same as Apple with Android.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Google plans to end activity tracking between applications on Android smartphones, as stated by Anthony Chavez, vice president of product management for Android security and privacy.
According to Chavez, there should not be “a forced choice between privacy and developers building their business”, alluding to these same criticisms that Meta and other companies have thrown at these measures. Thus, Google will be responsible for creating a data collection system designed for privacy, without giving too many details.
Google will follow Apple
In recent months, Apple has undertaken a major initiative to entrench user privacy in its ecosystem. With the release of the latest versions of iOS, Apple decided to grant its users the ability to completely block data tracking between apps, making apps unable to track such activity and giving the power of choice to the user. It also forced developers to show what data their apps collect from users in the App Store.
Ultimately, the most important feature was App Tracking, the iOS novelty that allowed the user to choose what data they wanted to provide to these companies and to accept requests from apps to track this data. This tackles the big problem of tracking, as many of the developers not only use these trackers to display ads, but allow third parties such as companies to collect this same data.
Well Google plans to do something similar. It claims that they will develop new privacy measures to eliminate the function of tracking users through Android device applications, limiting the sharing of user data with these third parties. Basically, they will seek to have the minimum data exchange for apps to function, but without the individual identifiers that allow tracking activity and creating personalized ads.
Although it has not provided details on the matter, Google has indicated that the new system for data collection it is developing will not have as “blunt” an approach as Apple’s, so it will have to be seen exactly what system is implemented in future versions and updates of Android. Still, Google will support the current system for at least two years.
Meta, in trouble
Of course, this has provoked the ire of companies like Meta, which have suffered revenue losses due to the reduction in data collected. And Apple’s excuse for taking these measures is simple: this data collection has made data a valuable commodity in an industry that is increasingly closed to providing information on how it manages this same data.
Since iOS 14.5 implemented the functions to limit data tracking last year, Meta has seen its stock market value quite reduced. Moreover, the company itself claimed that this change would cause even more problems for its financial status, which is why it has so repeatedly charged against Apple’s policies. Therefore, Google’s position could cause even more problems for Zuckerberg’s blue giant.