It’s no secret that Google is primarily supported by advertising even though the company’s trying to branch out its businesses with Cloud and hardware.
The tech giant has announced a new initiative called “Privacy Sandbox”, in a bid to protect users’ privacy as they open ads on the web.
Privacy Sandbox is essentially an initiative by Google to develop a set of open standards designed to fundamentally enhance privacy on Internet. Announcing the program, Google makes a case stating that advertising is fundamental to supporting many web businesses, like publishing, and should not be entirely shunned. The proposed “privacy sandbox” is thus designed to provide users ads that publishers can target based on interests but ensure that these ads don’t infringe on privacy.
The privacy sandbox is “a secure environment for personalization that also protects user privacy,” said Justin Schuh, a director of Chrome engineering focused on security matters, in a privacy sandbox blog post.
“Our goal is to create a set of standards that is more consistent with users’ expectations of privacy.”
According to Google, large scale blocking of cookies undermine people’s privacy by encouraging opaque techniques such as “fingerprinting”.
With “fingerprinting”, developers have found ways to use information that vary between users. This includes information such as what device they have or what fonts they have installed to generate a unique identifier which can then be used to match a user across websites.
“Unlike cookies, users cannot clear their fingerprint, and therefore cannot control how their information is collected. We think this subverts user choice and is wrong,” said Google.
Google’s Privacy Sandbox plan is an attempt to go beyond the solutions for Chrome such as blocking fingerprinting and classifying cookies etc by working to “develop new standards that advance privacy while continuing to support free access to content.”
But this switch is something that, as Google freely acknowledges, will take years.
“It’s going to be a multi-year journey,” said Schuh. “What I can say is that I have very high confidence that we will be able to change the incentive structures with this. So we are committed to taking very strong measures to preserve user privacy.”