Google is reportedly working on an anti-tracking feature for Android

Mariella Moon
·Associate Editor
·2-min read

Google is looking to develop an anti—tracking feature for Android similar to the one Apple is rolling out with iOS 14.5, according to Bloomberg. The tech giant is reportedly in the early stages of exploring how it can limit data collection and cross-app tracking for its mobile OS. However, it intends to find a less stringent solution than Apple’s so as not to completely alienate its advertising partners.

If you’ll recall, Apple is pushing out the App Tracking Transparency privacy feature, which will require developers to ask users for permission to collect their devices’ Identification for Advertisers code, with an upcoming iOS upgrade. That code allows advertisers to track user activity across apps and websites, allowing them to serve targeted ads. Apple was originally supposed to start enforcing the new policy with iOS 14’s debut but decided to push it back to give developers more time to make their apps compliant. As you can guess, not everyone’s happy with its implementation — Facebook, for instance, warned developers that the feature could sink app ad revenue, attacked the privacy changes with full-page newspaper ads and recently asked users to opt into ad tracking .

While Bloomberg’s sources haven’t revealed a lot of details about Google’s efforts, they said the tech giant likely won’t require developers to implement a prompt asking users to opt into data tracking like Apple’s. Further, they said the the company will likely conjure up a solution that’s similar to how its open-source Privacy Sandbox project aims to eliminate third-party cookies in Chrome while still allowing ad targeting. The tech giant developed a technology under Privacy Sandbox that lets advertisers target groups of people with similar interests instead of individuals.

Google is reportedly trying to find a way to implement a similar feature that’s not as strict in order to balance consumers’ privacy demands with the financial needs of developers and advertisers. As the news organization notes, the company has a vested interest in helping advertising partners, seeing as it has been earning over $100 billion in annual advertising revenue over the past few years.