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Google is exploring a less stringent take on Apple’s anti-tracking tools for Android

By Nadeem Sarwar February 4, 2021, 5:17 pm
google android app tracking att pocketnow

Apple made news last year when it announced a new set of user privacy guidelines that would allow users to opt out of ad-tracking, while also making developers disclose the kind of user data they collect via app nutrition labels on the App Store. The updated app privacy tools, which Apple calls App Tracking Transparency (ATT), will be implemented with the release of iOS 14.5. But what about Android though? Well, it appears that the ongoing chatter about privacy has ‘encouraged’ Google to think about an updated app privacy framework of its own for the Android ecosystem that follows in the footsteps of Apple


A less stringent take on user tracking controls on Android compared to iOS

As per a Bloomberg report, Google is working on its own anti-tracking solutions that will restrict data collection and cross-app user activity tracking to a certain extent. However, it must be noted that Google’s take on the enhanced user privacy tools for Android would be significantly less stringent compared to what Apple has put in place.

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

Aside from varying severity, there will be another major difference between Apple’s ATT and Google’s take on it. Users in the Apple ecosystem will see a prompt asking them to opt-in or opt-out of ad tracking across apps and websites. Google, however, doesn’t plan on offering any such functionality when it comes to data tracking. 

READ MORE: Facebook will urge users to allow activity tracking as stricter Apple policies go into effect

The reason behind this mellow approach? Well, Google is reportedly trying to strike a delicate balance between ad business revenue and user privacy concerns. Google earns billions of dollars from its expansive ad business each year, and it reportedly doesn’t want any ad-tracking policy updates to severely affect the financial status of developers and businesses. As for Apple, the company has taken a hardline stance, something that has led to a very public war of words with Facebook.

Google wants to keep users happy without hurting the pockets of developers

Coming back to Google, the search giant will reportedly opt for a solution that allows a certain degree of ad-targeting, but with a narrower scope for the kind of user data that can be collected. However, the work on ‘ATT alternative for Android’ is still in the early stages of development at Google. And there is no word when – or IF – it will be implemented across the Android operating system. 

READ MORE: Facebook plans anti-trust lawsuit against Apple as war over iOS privacy updates heats up


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