Google is emulating Apple when it comes to tracking protection: Android users should be able to put a stop to the app tracking for advertisers this year.
According to Google, the new function will be made available by the end of 2021 with an update of the Google Play services for Android 12. Gradually, all current devices will be equipped with it, regardless of the smartphone manufacturer. The new anti-tracking option is somewhat similar to Apple’s app tracking transparency function, which was introduced with iOS 14.5.
More versions later
As Google explains in a support document, once the function has been activated, developers will no longer be able to see a user’s unique advertising ID. Instead of the identifier, only a series of zeros are displayed. According to the Financial Times, the announcement was also communicated by email to Play Store developers. Google informed the developers that the changes “should give users more control over their data and help to strengthen security and privacy”. However, there is a big difference between Apple’s and Google’s anti-app tracking function: While users in iOS 14.5 are asked for permission when opening an app with tracking, Google’s solution is only an opt-out function, which is apparently in the system settings will be found. Google is likely to provide further details by the time it starts. For developers who have previously used the advertising ID for other purposes such as analysis and fraud prevention, Google plans to offer an alternative solution in the course of July.
The announcement of the anti-app tracking option is just one of many measures that Google has integrated into Android and will implement in the coming months. For example, the display of private information from apps is finding its way into the Play Store, which is based on Apple’s private labels. Google has also announced that it will prevent apps from scanning the entire list of installed applications. With Android 12, Google is also delivering new functions that provide more transparency about which apps are accessing your data. A privacy dashboard will also offer a better overview of authorization settings and of which data is accessed, how often, and from which apps. Advertisers are unlikely to be particularly pleased with the new features in Android after it became apparent that only four percent agreed to track under iOS 14.5 in the US. According to a study by advertising marketers, since the introduction of the anti-tracking function, many marketers have switched from iOS to Android and have increased their advertising spending on the platform between 8.3 and 21 percent, as reported by Apple Insider. That should change soon.