Privacy is the main selling point of Google products this year, according to foreign media. The company made it clear at the I/O conference in May and at Google’s press conference in October that user privacy was a matter of great concern to them. Then last month Google spent a lot of time highlighting privacy concerns about new products at a hardware launch.
While some have questioned Google’s claim that it is a marketing ploy, even so, it seems more interested in improving the data protection of users of its products, and the company has just announced that it will make important changes to the way its advertising business operates.
Google may want to compete with Apple in the privacy space, but the truth is that it has to collect a lot of user data to make money out of it, because advertising is still its main source of money, and all Google products are essentially search and advertising portals.
On Google’s advertising manager blog, Chetna Bindra said that from February 2020, Google will no longer include contextual content categories in bids it sends to ad buyers.
The move is to prevent some advertisers from linking user data to sensitive categories. It’s unclear whether some advertisers have been able to make such connections in the past, or whether they can do so now.
Google said it made the change after contacting the data protection authority and would continue to work with the agency investigating data protection practices in the context of authorized buyers. Google’s senior product manager for user trust and privacy also said the company will update the EU consent policy audit process for publishers, advertisers and authorized buyers.
The executive also explained that Google’s RTB platform, where publishers sell ads, has taken strong steps to protect privacy. Publishers need to get the user’s consent to show them personalized content. At the same time, Google’s data minimization practices should block the identification of users.