Google has developed a poor reputation when it comes to digital confidentially, becoming a punching bag for privacy advocates who criticize the search-engine giant for stalking its users' online activities.
Google has finally succumbed to pressure and it's seeking to clean up its sullied image as the antithesis of online privacy. The multinational tech company announced that it will stop tracking users' browsing activity for targeted ads.
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Google plans to phase out its existing ad-tracking technology
Google has long been on the receiving end of criticism due to its ad-tracking activities to push targeted ads to its users. Not even incognito mode seems to be safe from prying eyes, impelling Chrome users to launch a class-action lawsuit against the search-engine giant for falsely advertising it as a private-browsing tool.
Google has voiced its intentions to tighten its security practices since January of last year, claiming that it wanted to phase out third-party cookies. Many were skeptical about Google's pivot toward user privacy, but it seems like the tech company is keeping its promise.
On Wednesday, Google announced that it will prioritize privacy for Chrome users by addressing targeted advertising concerns. The Mountain View-based tech giant says that it is attempting to strike a balance between protecting its users' anonymity while still delivering satisfactory results to advertisers and publishers.
"People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order to get the benefits of relevant advertising. And advertisers don't need to track individual consumers across the web to get the performance benefits of digital advertising," said David Temkin, Google’s director of product management for Ads Privacy and Trust.
How Google will tighten user privacy while appeasing advertisers
Google's first step toward tightening its privacy measures is phasing out third-party cookies. "We will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products," Temkin added.
Google plans to implement a process called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), which is a fancy way of saying that Chrome will find a way to pitch relevant ads to users by observing cohorts with similar browsing behavior rather than tracking individuals. Google added that FLoC hides "individuals within large crowds of people with common interests."
The search-engine giant says that it will begin testing its FLoC-based method in Q2 of this year to see if it offers satisfactory results for advertisers.
With Google being the biggest digital-advertising company in the world, its new moves to tighten user security could serve as a model for other privacy-invading online companies on how to achieve their business goals without stalking their users' browsing activities.
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Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!