Google hits out at Apple over “ineffective” tracking blocker

Google Android smartphone

Coinciding with the announcement of its own Android Privacy Sandbox feature, Google has slammed “other platforms” – seemingly referring to Apple – that “bluntly restrict existing technologies used by developers and advertisers.”

Google’s Privacy Sandbox will only become available on Android in 2024 at the earliest – as opposed to Apple’s own App Tracking Transparency feature, which is already operational for iDevice users right now.

App Tracking Transparency, introduced last year with iOS, iPadOS and tvOS 14.5, enables iPhone, iPad and Apple TV users to exert greater control over how app developers are allowed to track and collect their data. The feature means that applications are required to seek permission if they want to track the user’s activity across other companies’ websites and apps.

However, Google has indicated in a blog post that it believes Apple’s approach to be “ineffective”, even potentially leading to “worse outcomes for user privacy and developer businesses.”

The tech giant has said that its own new multi-year initiative will restrict the sharing of personal data with third-party apps and lessen the potential for covert data collection.

The search titan expressed its desire to eventually phase out advertising IDs, which marketers use to track behavior, and which provide insight into the hobbies and interests of the given user.

Anthony Chaves, privacy chief at Google, told The Wall Street Journal that the search engine’s parent company Alphabet Inc. doesn’t “think there should be a forced choice between privacy and developers building their business.”

With Apple’s App Tracking Transparency looking likely to strengthen with each successive iOS update, and Google promising to support existing ads platform features for a minimum of two years, Apple could seemingly do something in that time to completely change the game once again, before Google even gets Privacy Sandbox for Android off the ground.

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