After spending more than a decade making huge profits from targeted advertising, Google announced on Wednesday that it plans to target any kind of personal tracking and cookies when it gets out of the picture.
In many ways, the announcement is Google’s way of doubling its long-running pro-privacy announcement, starting with the company’s early 2020 resolution to eliminate third-party cookies in Chrome by 2022 it happens. We can be privacy-protective among us, agreeing that killing these types of ubiquitous trackers and targets is a good thing to do, but this is not the time to start cheering on the company’s privacy hobbyists on our data – Because there was a desire to do something after Wednesday’s announcement.
As the cookie-killing date picks up and gets closer, we’ve seen some of the leading names in data-broking and EdTech biz-third parties who benefit from cookies – in a way of coming up with “universal identifiers” Let’s try. Google can serve as an option as soon as you pull the plug. In some cases, these new IDs rely on people’s email logins, which are hashed and collectively scooped from tons of sites across the web. In other cases, companies plan to exclude scraps of a person’s identifiable data along with other data that can be pulled from non-browser sources, such as their connected television or mobile phone. There are several other plans that are coming up with the cookie countdowns of these companies, and Google apparently has none of it.
“We continue to raise questions about whether Google will join others in the advertising tech industry with plans to replace third-party cookies with alternative user-level identifiers,” David Temkin, who advertises ” Lead Google’s product management team for “privacy and trust”, wrote in a blog post published on Wednesday.
In response, Temkin said that Google believes that “these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand for fast-paced regulatory restrictions.” Based on this, these types of products “do not make the cookie a permanent long-term investment”, adding that Google does not plan to create “alternative identifiers to track individuals” once they have created the cookie.
What Google plans on building, however, is its own separate share of “privacy-preserving” tools for ad targeting, such as Federated Learning of Cohorts, or Short for Flow. Just to get people up to speed: While cookies (and some of these universal ID’s) track people by their personal browsing behavior as they bounce from site to site, under FLoC, a person’s browser is able to track that browsing. And will take any data originally generated. If you wish, you can dive into a large pot of data from people with similar browsing behavior. Instead of being able to target ads against people based on individual mores of data generated by an individual, Google would allow advertisers to target these huge pots of collected data.
We’ve written our full thoughts on FLOC – the short version is one that, like most of Google’s privacy pushes we’ve seen so far, the FLOC offer is not as user-friendly as you might think. For one thing, others have already pointed out that this proposal does not necessarily prevent people from tracking the entire web, it only ensures that Google is doing just that. This is one of the reasons that the upcoming cookiepocolypse has already started an investigation from competition authorities in the UK. Meanwhile, some US business groups have already voiced their skepticism that what Google does here is less about privacy and more about its vaguely tight grip on the digital advertising economy.
Which brings us back to that Google blog post from earlier this week – the post that was literally called “A Course Charting Towards the More Privacy-First Web”, while pointing out all the obvious problems that other people have Has indicated with FLoC: Tracking is still tracking, even if it is happening overall. Google claims that FLOC-based targeting is “95% effective” because cookie-based targeting seems to be built on bunk math. The move will give Google exclusive access to a ton of user data that the company already largely monopolizes. If Google really wants to shift the national conversation on consumer privacy, it should start clarifying what they think “privacy” really means.