Google working on iOS-like anti-tracking privacy feature for Android

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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US-based tech giant Google is reportedly exploring an alternative for the Apple’s latest anti-tracking feature, the new sign that the Internet sector is slowly embracing user privacy.

According to the report, the search giant is on discussions to know how data collection and cross-app control on the Android operating system can be constrained in a way that is less restrictive than the Apple’s solution.

Google seeks to balance the growing demands of privacy-conscious consumers with the financial needs of developers and advertisers. The Alphabet unit is looking for input from these stakeholders, similar to how it’s slowly developing a new privacy standard for web browsing called the Privacy Sandbox.

With annual digital advertising revenues of more than $100 billion, Google has a vested interest in helping partners continue to generate revenue by targeting Android device users with ads and evaluating the success of those marketing spots.

As per a Google spokesman, “We’re always looking for ways to work with developers to raise the bar on privacy while enabling a healthy, ad-supported app ecosystem.”

Apple is introducing a new feature called App Tracking Transparency to a forthcoming software update for iPhones and iPads, called iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5. The tool allows users to select whether apps can gather data about them across other apps and websites. The imminent modification has shaken the digital advertising industry.

Social media giant Facebook and other companies have complained that the functionality will restrict their ability to serve personalized ads efficiently and generate revenue. Google commented Apple’s advertisement-tracking update means developers “may see a significant impact” on their advertisement revenue.

A Google solution is likely to be less strict and won’t require a prompt to opt into data tracking like Apple’s, the spokesperson said. “The exploration into an Android alternative to Apple’s feature is still in the early stages, and the company hasn’t decided when, or if, it will go ahead with the changes,” stated Google.