Google’s recently-announced privacy changes for Android are part of the industry’s growing focus on customer privacy. The announcement is an expansion of Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative, announced in August 2019, designed to create standards for websites to access user information without privacy compromises. With the long-anticipated announcement, Google is now expanding its privacy initiative to the Android ecosystem.
While the impact of the changes is still to be seen, Google is taking a more gradual approach that involves working closely with the industry to build its solution for Android. We have a long-standing partnership with Google, and like many industry players, are looking into the latest design proposals with the goal of helping to contribute to this important initiative. Even at this early stage, however, we believe there is significant cause for optimism:
- Enhanced privacy is a blessing, not a threat: As the App Economy explodes, projected to reach $407B by 2026, growing numbers of consumers are spending growing amounts of time in apps. With the rise in usage - and opportunity to reach consumers via their phones - there has been understandable concern about privacy. Growth in the industry has to come in lockstep with advancements in protecting consumer privacy. It serves all the constituents of the App Economy to ensure what Google calls a “healthy app ecosystem.”
- Diversity of data sources is key: As with ATT, the use of third-party data will come under the microscope in the Privacy Sandbox. As such, companies that are able to leverage large scale across diverse data sources are likely to maintain an advantage, as they will be able to provide advertisers with the insights they need to maintain healthy businesses, while meeting the most stringent privacy standards.
- Taking a comprehensive approach: Google’s approach to developing its privacy standards appears to be wide-ranging and comprehensive, with the potential to drive benefits for app developers beyond regulating data collection and privacy. SDK runtime, for example, while bringing with it important privacy protections, will also enable developers to more easily deploy SDK updates without having to release a new version of their app to the store each time.
The growth of the App Economy serves all of its players, and enhanced privacy protections are part of such growth. As we have seen firsthand with ATT, which initially created significant concerns across the industry, some companies can not only withstand, but in fact become a net beneficiary of these changes. We look forward to seeing how Google’s privacy initiative takes shape, and hope to help contribute to those changes in the coming year. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at Google’s approach in the coming weeks as we dive more deeply into the design proposals.