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Google Stops Selling Ads Based On Individual Browsing History

Google has announced it will stop selling advertisements based on a person’s individual browsing online, an enormous move which will have major ramifications across the digital advertising industry.

The search engine giant revealed on Wednesday it will phase out personalised ads which are pulled from cookies and browsing history after consumers called for more privacy online.

“Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products,” Google wrote in a blogpost.

“We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses. We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment.

Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.”

Google said it will continue to support first-party relationships on ad platforms for partners, in which businesses can have direct connections with their own customers.

This is called a ‘privacy sandbox’, which is designed to let publishers target ads based on people’s interest without infringing on their personal information or privacy.

“If digital advertising doesn’t evolve to address the growing concerns people have about their privacy and how their personal identity is being used, we risk the future of the free and open web,” David Temkin, a Google product manager focused on privacy, said in the blog post.

“People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order to get the benefits of relevant advertising.”

The company also called on other technology companies to do more to protect individual privacy.

“Keeping the internet open and accessible for everyone requires all of us to do more to protect privacy — and that means an end to not only third-party cookies, but also any technology used for tracking individual people as they browse the web,” Google continued.

The privacy upgrade will only apply to websites and not on mobile phones at first.

Google’s search and targeted advertising business has been under the microscope by lawmakers in the US and beyond, with the tech giant facing several antitrust lawsuits.

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