Google will make changes to its Android operating system aimed at reducing the amount of tracking it allows. It’s this kind of tracking that allows big tech companies to gather information about consumers and then relentlessly target them with advertising on what you think you want to buy.
Google’s changes aim to limit the sharing of user data with third parties by limiting the amount of data collected across different apps.
These changes are similar to those introduced by Apple. In fact, Apple’s changes led Facebook’s recently renamed parent company Meta to announce that Apple’s changes alone would cost the company $10 billion in lost revenue. That same day, the company lost $232 billion in market value. A 26% drop! And set a new record for the largest one-day loss in history. I really hate Zach.
Yet despite the market cap carnage, Facebook’s changes to Google aren’t as combative as those to Apple. “[It is] Graham Mudd, Facebook’s vice president of product marketing, advertising and business, said on Twitter that it’s encouraging to see Google’s long-term, collaborative approach to privacy-preserving personalized ads. “We look forward to continuing to work with them and the industry as a whole on technologies that enhance privacy through industry groups.”
Facebook’s response this time was more modest, likely because Google is taking its time rolling out the policy changes and hasn’t actually disclosed a timeline. It also said the existing technology would last at least two years, giving companies time to adapt. (Or is this an escape?) Meta also recently partnered with Nvidia to build a powerful AI research supercomputer, so it probably doesn’t need that data anymore, anyway.
It’s not just big tech companies that are affected by such policy changes. Advertising revenue is the lifeblood of many websites, including ours, and requires a healthy balance between aggressive and invasive tracking, while allowing companies that rely on advertising revenue to survive and thrive. These kinds of discussions will only intensify as we move more and more from the real world to the virtual world.