Google's New Privacy Measures and How They Impact You

Google has recently announced the adoption of new privacy measures: most notably, discontinuing the use of third-party cookies intended to track users.

Google's New Privacy Measures and How They Impact You

Google has recently announced the adoption of new privacy measures: most notably, discontinuing the use of third-party cookies intended to track users. This shift comes in response to the ongoing struggle users face when it comes to online privacy.

In the past, third-party cookies tracked the behaviors of users across the internet. These cookies could then be used for a wide range of purposes--most notably for targeting advertisements or even changing the search results users are likely to see when they use their login information or personal computer to search. The presence of cookies allowed for considerable tracking as users visited a wide range of websites. Ultimately, this means hyper-targeted ads based on users' current online behaviors and the websites they chose to engage with.

As a result, users experienced significant distrust in the content they saw and the ads they interacted with online. Safari and Firefox were among the first browsers to block or eliminate third-party cookies. Now, Google is stepping up to the plate.

The Introduction of Privacy Sandbox

Tracking is unlikely to disappear from the internet completely. By tracking user behaviors, advertisers can get a better idea of what types of content those users engage with and what they're most likely to respond to. It allows advertisers to target users based on past interactions with websites or to send them ads based on the things that they seem most likely to be interested in. All those online behaviors are important to advertisers, who want to be sure that they're seeing the highest possible return on their investment by getting their ads in front of the right people.

To help maintain user privacy, Google is introducing Privacy Sandbox. It hides individual users within a "crowd" or "cohort" of others who are engaged in similar behaviors.

The Android Police breakdown of the new Privacy Sandbox option includes a look at new settings that allow you to select whether you want to be part of a web crowd and ad management strategy. The setting window notes, "By joining a Web Crowd, you allow websites to make your web experience relevant without using personally identifiable information. Similar to a crowd in a concert, websites and advertisers can only know thousands of users share a similar interest."

Privacy Sandbox aims to make it easier for users to maintain their overall privacy online while still connecting advertisers to users who are most likely to be interested in their services and everything they have to offer.

The Importance of Privacy Online

For a long time, advertisers have been highly focused on created targeted advertisements that go directly to the people they feel are most likely to need or be interested in their content. They have targeted people based on their specific demographics, the searches they've performed, and the websites they've visited in the past.

Unfortunately, not all users are comfortable with that experience.

Some users have become increasingly uncomfortable with the idea that there is a third-party entity out there collecting all the information they provide online. While many websites now ask for users' permission to use cookies, accessing those websites without allowing the collection of cookies can prove more problematic--and many people aren't sure how to go about turning off those settings. They might choose to browse in incognito mode or to regularly clear their search history and visited websites. Unfortunately, some users still have growing mistrust in digital advertisements and the content they can access through search engines and other platforms.

While users often want customized content--the type of customized content that can be delivered most easily by using cookies, based on current technology--they also do not want their privacy invaded. Some users may visit sensitive websites that they do not necessarily want to have tracked. Others may simply want to enjoy their privacy regardless of what websites they have visited.

Privacy Sandbox aims to address those concerns. It comes in the wake of continuing pressure to provide a higher degree of privacy and regulation around the world. Many people are realizing, now more than ever before, just how important it is to protect their online privacy--and regulatory bodies are listening. By creating this shift to Privacy Sandbox, Google aims to meet the rising consumer expectations for privacy. Overall, that is the goal of this latest change and rollout: ensuring that consumers have a high degree of privacy no matter what activities they engage in on the internet.

Other companies may offer better tracking or more narrow targeting in light of this immediate change. While that may benefit advertisers, it may not benefit the average consumer--and consumers are likely to respond better to the privacy-first perspective.

What Does Privacy Sandbox Change?

With the discontinuation of third-party cookies, Google will change several key aspects of the way consumers interact with the internet. Over time, it aims to create a higher degree of trust in the online environment. Instead of tracking users directly, it clumps them into a "crowd" or "group" of users that share similar interests and other demographic information. Advertisers will still be able to target their advertisements directly to the crowds that are most likely to make use of that content, but those third-party cookies will no longer track every movement that a single user makes online.

For the average user, it means enhanced privacy. For businesses, it may mean slightly reduced tracking capability--but it will also mean that they can more easily get in front of users who might otherwise fail to view their content due to an overall lack of privacy online and their unwillingness to allow that tracking.

The latest changes to Google's privacy requirements may take some getting used to, but they will, in the end, likely prove well worth it for businesses and private individuals alike. Are you interested in how the changing privacy requirements could impact your internet use or how they might impact your ads? We can help. Contact us today to learn more about those changes and how your business needs to adapt in order to make the most of them.

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