Tech giant Google has long been recognized as one of the greatest collectors of user data, if not the greatest. Now, in what can only be described as a remarkable turnaround, Google has recently announced that it is set to move away from its traditional business model with plans to eliminate third-party cookies, the primary source of data tracking, and enhance privacy by introducing a “Privacy Sandbox”.
People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order to get the benefits of relevant advertising. And advertisers don’t need to track individual consumers across the web to get the performance benefits of digital advertising. That’s why last year Chrome announced its intent to remove support for third-party cookies, and why we’ve been working with the broader industry on the Privacy Sandbox to build innovations that protect anonymity ~ <source>
Google will begin testing its privacy-preserving APIs, such as the Federated Learning of Cohorts API (FloC), later this month and Chrome users will also get access to new privacy controls in April.
With the Chrome 90 release in April, we’ll be releasing the first controls for the Privacy Sandbox (first, a simple on/off), and we plan to expand on these controls in future Chrome releases ~ <source>
It’s surprising to see these sorts of statements coming from Google, a company that has built an empire by monetizing users’ browsing data. Considering Google’s supreme domination in key areas — with the most popular browser, search engine, webmail client, and video hosting service on the planet — it is highly unlikely that it has anything to do with fearing the opposition. One would like to think that maybe Google is bowing to pressure from increasing privacy concerns among the using public and a general trend toward more privacy-centric applications and services. However, I seriously doubt that is the case– Google does not have a history of bowing to pressure and has always, more or less, been a law unto itself.
My guess is that increasing scrutiny from the EU, US, and other governments with the prospect of tighter regulations around data privacy is pretty much forcing Google’s hand. Let’s face it, if Google shows that it is making a good-faith effort now towards enhancing privacy protections, it will go a long way to assuaging governments’ concerns. Also, as far as public perception is concerned, it has to be in Google’s favor to appear to be voluntarily taking these steps rather than being forced to do so via government regulations. Besides, the tech giant is so filthy rich now it can certainly afford the appearance of benevolence.
Google, the privacy-oriented company!? Whatever next!?
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