Should Marketers Worry Over Google’s New Privacy Tools?

Published on May 8, 2019

Google Inc. (GOOG) Mountain View, Calif. announced at its annual I/O conference that the company will be rolling out new features to protect user privacy within its Chrome browser, among other things. The announcement came after Facebook took to its own annual conference last week to discuss advancements in privacy within its website. Now that online advertising is one of the biggest moneymakers for the digital world, it’s time to get a grasp on what the limitations to it should be. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has not made it clear whether or not it will be rolling out any changes to how data can be used legally. But companies like Facebook and Google are being increasingly pressured to tighten regulations to maintain consumer trust.

The Keynote

Aside from changes to its privacy tools, Google announced quite a few new changes to the company’s wide range of products and services during its annual keynote. Among a few were new features on the Google Assistant that will let users do things like book rental cars and order movie tickets through voice activation, a more affordable version of its Pixel 3 phone, integration with Nest Home products, augmented reality search and changes to the Google Lens service. Google will also add features like Live Caption and Live Transcribe. These will allow users to do things like tell their phone to speak on the phone for them (a millennial dream) and easily use voice to text and vice versa.

Some of the biggest announcements in the I/O conference were in Google’s new integration with other tech companies. Users of Nest Home products will soon notice that the devices and apps can integrate with Google. Changes will be seen particularly in Google Home products, which will now be called Nest Home and Nest Home Max. The move is Google’s way of furthering itself into the world of smart homes. Google clearly wanted to get in with a company that’s already built a solid rapport smart home among consumers.

New Privacy Tools

One of the many changes that’s managed to garner massive attention is the company’s announcement that privacy changes are imminent. Changes to the Chrome browser will make it harder for third party companies to track user data. As of right now, company’s are able to integrate cookies into websites that let businesses track what users do online. Even once they leave the website. This gives advertisers a deeper understanding of consumer habit and interest. Though the changes promise to shake things up for the advertising world, many claim that they won’t actually impact much.

New privacy tools on Chrome will make it harder for third-party cookies to track user data. This may effect data that websites are able to harvest. But experts think that little change will come from advertising platforms like Google Ads (formerly Ad Words) that come directly from Google itself. Critics have claimed that the effort to limit third-party cookies is merely Google’s way of seeking to monopolize the industry. Though the company assures that it was working with the consumer in mind when making these changes.

Google claims that they’ve been working on the new privacy tools for around six years. However, they sped up the process significantly when the Cambridge Analytica story broke. The company knew that user-data would become a hot topic among consumer media. It wanted to make sure that it was ahead of any new regulations or consumer demands beforehand. In the tech world, change can’t happen overnight. The new privacy tools were the company’s way of rolling out those changes as fast as possible.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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