Google to Stop Selling Ads Based on Individual Web Browsing
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Alphabet, the parent company of Google, says it will end its use of tracking technologies used in advertising. Google tracks individuals across the websites they visit and sells that behavioral information to advertisers.
Google says it will stop using and investing in certain tracking technology in 2022. Previously Alphabet had said it was working to replace the technology used for third-party cookie tracking.
Advertisers use tracking information provided by Google to target audiences based on individual web activity as well as create aggregate audiences of user behaviors and interests. This information is collected by Google through the use of tracking technologies known as pixels or cookies.
Data Privacy Concerns Prompt Changes in Advertising Policies
“In fact, 72% of people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies, and 81% say that the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits, according to a study by Pew Research Center,” says Google in the announcement.
Cookies are a small snippet of computer code that is saved to an individual’s computer or phone. The code is used to track the websites they visit an apps they use – often without their knowledge or consent.
Most consider it a major data privacy invasion. Many are willing to tolerate the practice so they can continue the use of websites and apps.
Trackers can work across multiple websites. For example, you may have noticed if you look at a product on one website you may begin to see advertisements for it on other websites you visit.
Facebook also enables the use of tracking technology across websites including its web properties Instagram and Messenger.
“Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products,” says Google’s David Temkin who is Director of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Trust
Last year, Google announced that they would stop using third party cookies in 2022.
The change with this update means that Google won’t be investing in an alternative to replace third-party cookie tracking.
First-party cookies will still be tracked
Google considers everything it collects from Android, Search, Chrome, Maps, Waze, Gmail, Nest, and others to be first-party cookies. The company still plans on using these trackers.
In case you didn’t know it Alphabet owns search engine Google.com, YouTube, Google Maps, the Play Store, Gmail, Nest thermostats, and a slew of other web properties too. Alphabet tracks your use across all of their internet-connected properties. This information is sold to advertisers that use it to target advertisements to consumers. It is also used for Alphabet’s product development.
One way to combat internet tracker privacy invasion is to use a virtual private network, or VPN, app to make your internet surfing anonymous. That way, no one can tell what websites you visit or want videos you watched.
Your private messages and chats will be secure too.
A good VPN app will also protect your payment card information while shipping online. They are available for under $5 USD per month. I use IPVanish VPN. It’s easy to set-up and works across my laptop and phone.