Google held its annual developer conference yesterday, and it announced tons of cool stuff including New Pixel mid-range phones, New Android! Features, Google Nest aka Google Home, Faster Google Assistant, New Search Features and the biggest of all Better Privacy Controls.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “A business built on using its vast store of user data to target ads, now says its priority is privacy. Yes, we’re talking about Google aka Alphabet.”
Last week Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg delivered messages around privacy at F8. “The future is private,” he said, and Facebook will focus on more intimate communications.
And this time it was Google’s Sundar Pichai at the I/O. “We think privacy is for everyone,” he explained. “We want to do more to stay ahead of constantly evolving user expectations.”
What does this mean for users, publishers, advertiser, marketers and the future of advertising? Let’s break it down.
Better privacy controls
At a time when companies are constantly getting flak for their lapses in handling user data, Google tried to assure people that it’s taking privacy of its consumers seriously by introducing new controls. The company’s giving one-tap access to your Google account in Search, Maps, and Assistant to manage your data easily.
It’s also giving you an option to automatically delete your web and app data after 3 or 18 months (with an option to delete location history coming next month). One of the coolest privacy features Google is introducing is the incognito mode in Maps and Search, so you can start a private session without fear of being tracked.
Chrome Browser Extension – Your Privacy Tool
Well, it further announced it will build Chrome Browser extension that will offer more transparency to users on how advertisers, publishers, etc use their data and target Ads. The users will have access to the dashboard to show information on cookies tracking them and an option to stop it. This could potentially block all tracking access to marketers.
Google has been working on this extension for over 6 years that will give users ability to disable or delete cookies without affecting their first-party cookies.
Alright, if the last line was too jargon heavy. Difference between First party cookies and third parties’ cookies is, first party ones help websites to keep track and details of your last visits including logins. Third Party cookies are used for advertising purely. This allows advertisers, publishers to profile you based on your behaviour, habits and likes.
Apple, Facebook and now Google.
Apple, known for spearheading the privacy responsibility made changes to its browser, Safari last year allowing the users to have complete control over cookies. Facebook announced privacy as priority at F8 conference and now Google following the footsteps. However, Google controls a third of search traffic and Ad revenues in the World and this could turn out to be the most expensive shift for them.
What does it mean for marketers, advertisers and publishers?
These updates will significantly change the way and targeting/retargeting of users. The people from digital marketing community will agree to the fact that cookies have been losing their relevance over time. With Chrome getting the control ability, this will only make it worse.
I strongly believe these are extremely meaningful changes and about time tech giants make the move before the law takes action. However, I don’t think this will affect the business, advertisers and publishers. Google will still collect data and probably will change the profiling mechanism. This could be the implementation of universal user IDs that the internet world has been talking about.
Privacy improvements are necessary and important to keep the wild web a safe place. The only constant in the digital world is change.
Hopefully, Google makes it easy for the users to make these changes or else it will become just another tool that’s too hidden for the user.