While Gmail and other major app updates take a back seat in a seemingly sluggish attempt to delay the disclosure of the data collected for user data, Google is set to discuss new privacy features for Android, inspired by Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature.
Apple will be releasing a new feature called App Tracking Transparency (ATT) in iOS 14.5. Developers need to notify users of cross-app tracking and give them the option to turn it off.
Internal leaks told Bloomberg that Google is discussing implementing a similar, if less stringent, privacy control for Android. The move is said to be driven by concerns that privacy-conscious consumers could switch to Apple if they believe their data is at risk on Android.
The decision would run counter to Google’s business model of collecting data for ad targeting. The company hopes to continue to collect enough data that does not affect business or ad targeting effectiveness.
“We are always looking for ways to work with developers to raise the bar on privacy while enabling a healthy, ad-supported app ecosystem,” a Google spokesman said in a statement to Bloomberg.
Apple’s move to surface tracking and educating users has created controversy among advertising companies. Google hasn’t updated most of its iOS apps since Apple set a deadline for disclosing data sharing in December. Plus, Facebook openly fights Apple in the name of protecting small businesses.
Google’s iOS app release cycle before and after Apple’s request to disclose privacy labels.
This pattern is probably just a coincidence. We all know that “Transparency is the foundation of [their] Commitment to the user “… pic.twitter.com/UgJjAhWfkm
– Thomasbcn (@Thomasbcn) February 2, 2021
Users are starting to notice that Google is reluctant to update its apps. Apple has implemented privacy labels in the App Store, and Google has not updated its primary apps. Therefore, it would have to disclose what it does with user data.
Apps like Facebook and Instagram have multiple pages of data collection on their App Store privacy label. Google may try to avoid such extreme levels of tracking when it updates its apps. Apple’s drive for privacy-centric features has made the industry change, and Google, looking to implement new privacy features, is one example.
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