Following Apple's decision to take away every iOS device's unique Identifier for Advertisers in order to strengthen privacy and the amount of data shared with third party app developers, Google have moved to do the same. Google is soon to introduce a new mechanism that will increase privacy protection for Android users.
Google announced the move to all Play Store app developers, saying that it was a move that was needed in order to "give users more control over their data for greater security and privacy.” Many of us have long had concerns around how much data is shared with developers, so this change could be seen as Google finally making a move to address these concerns.
Google essentially want to make it more difficult for advertisers to track users movements between apps and manipulate data towards what they have been looking at or common searches. This is similar to how Apple turned off automatic tracking and rather now allows for users to opt to turn it on when needed.
Google is planning on also adding in an opt-out option for users which will remove their devices from sharing data with advertising companies to use for tracking purposes.
At the moment, Android users are still tagged by the Advertising ID when they open an app, even if they have switched off tracking. This is due to the fact that Google's Advertising ID is used for non-marketing purposes also, meaning when you switch it off you are only reducing the amount of data shared rather than eliminating it completely.
However, later this year when Google introduces the new update, this will be fixed and the Advertising ID on your Android phone will not send data through to marketing companies if you opt out. Instead it will send a string of zeros rather than your Advertising ID number.
For many people this change will be a huge help to decluttering their phone. Our devices are often now so full of advertising and marketing based around things we have searched or even talk about on our phones. Google's plan to follow Apple's move in tightening up advertising companies privileges is a positive step in ensuring user's privacy is maintained.
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