Google says it will stop selling ads based on individual browsing history

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THE Google announced on Tuesday that will no longer use people’s specific browsing history to sell ads on the internet starting next year.

The company announced in 2020 that it would no longer authorize the collection of third-party cookies on its Chrome browser, a mechanism that allows tracking through different websites. (understand more below).

Now, the search giant has said that will not create alternative identifiers to track people as they browse the web, which would serve to replace third-party cookies.

To continue offering targeted advertising to people based on their interests, Google has stated that it works on an approach that “hides” people “in the crowd”, grouping users with similar behaviors.

Google’s decision is relevant because it is the largest digital advertising company in the world.

This market is the company’s main source of revenue – the business generated US $ 46.2 billion in the 4th quarter of 2020, which represents 82% of its revenue.

The crawlers are used to offer specifically targeted web ads, which increases the chances of interesting people.

Individualized tracking is criticized by experts who defend privacy. The theme also appears in laws that regulate data protection, such as the General Data Protection Law (LGPD).

This does not change the way Google deals with proprietary data – data that a company receives directly from a user and that does not result from an exchange of information.

If an advertiser wants to show advertising to a specific user on YouTube and use that person’s email address to find them, for example, nothing will change.

The difference is that this same ad will not be able to be displayed when the user is browsing other sites (which would be possible with third-party cookies).

The Google ad is related to a new feature in the Chrome browser, announced in 2020, which started to block third-party cookies. The company’s plan is to stop using this tracking technology by 2022.

Cookies are data stored by the browser at the request of Internet sites.

They are small files sent by websites that are stored in your computer’s browser that tell companies some behavioral information.

It’s with them that your browser can tell a website that you’ve been there or that you’ve added an item to your shopping cart in a virtual store, for example.

What are cookies on the web and what risks do they pose?

Tracking cookies store identifying numbers that advertisements can read to associate clicks and visits to the same Internet user.

Third-party cookies allow a exchange of information between different sites, to offer personalized advertising based on a broad browsing history.

With the blocking of third-party cookies in Chrome, Google was expected to create new mechanisms to track users to offer personalized advertising – which will not happen, according to this Wednesday’s announcement.

To continue delivering digital advertising based on people’s interests, Google said it was developing solutions that consider privacy.

A company technology analyzes users’ browsing habits on their own devices and allows advertisers to target their ads to aggregate groups of users with similar interests, rather than individual users.

In practice, instead of selling ads based on an individual’s history, the company will analyze the histories of several people and bring them together in groups with similar interests to sell the advertising.

Google said it plans to start testing for advertisers to buy advertising space using this technology in the second quarter of this year.

The efforts focused on privacy are not exclusive to the search giant. Companies como to Apple e browsers like Firefox are against the use of third party cookies.

On the other hand, smaller companies that use cross-site tracking accuse Apple and Google of using privacy as pretext for changes that harm competitors.

Proceedings against Google

Google is target of 3 processes in the USA by anticompetitive practices. They all relate to some extent to the company’s power in the digital advertising market.

In one of these actions, officials say the company would have maintained its position in the online search market by abusing its power in other areas such as voice assistants, connected cars and digital advertising.

Google denies the allegations and says that “people use Google because they want to – not because they are forced or because they can’t find alternatives”.

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