Google to improve user privacy in digital advertising

Google working on tools to improve user privacy in digital advertising

The logo of US internet search giant Google. Credit: AFP Photo

Tech giant Google on Friday said it will introduce new tools that provide people with more information about the ads they see as part of its efforts to improve user privacy in digital advertising.

Stating that privacy is core to the company's work, Google said its vision is for a "thriving internet where people around the world can continue to access ad-supported content, while also feeling confident that their data is protected". "But in order to get there, we must increase transparency into how digital advertising works, offer users additional controls, and ensure that people's choices about the use of their data are respected—not worked around or ignored," Google said in a blogpost.

Google said over the next few months, it will be making improvements to its existing 'Why this ad' feature with a new feature called 'About this ad' that will also show users the verified name of the advertiser behind each ad.

'Why this ad' feature helped users get more information on some of the factors that were used to select the ad for them, or choose to stop seeing that ad. There are over 15 million user interactions per day with 'Why this ad' feature and it had recently been extended to ads on connected TVs.

"Over the next few months, we'll be making improvements to the experience with a new feature called 'About this ad', which will also show users the verified name of the advertiser behind each ad," Google said in a blogpost. 'About this ad' will initially be available for display ads purchased through Google Ads and Display and Video 360, and will be extended to other ad surfaces throughout 2021, it added.

The company is also introducing new resources for marketers and publishers that offer guidance on how to navigate privacy environment, along with real-world examples from brands and media companies who are delivering effective, privacy- forward ad experiences that use data responsibly.

Google said due to the complexity of the digital ads ecosystem and the large number of entities involved, it's typically not clear to users which companies are even involved in showing them an ad. To provide people with detailed information about all the ads they see on the web, Google said it is releasing a new tool called Ads Transparency Spotlight.

"We'll continue to improve this extension based on feedback from users, and over time we expect to offer additional disclosures about ads, as well as introduce controls. Our hope is that other technology providers will build similar transparency and control capabilities into the experiences they offer as well," it added.

The company said it is also exploring a range of other approaches to improve user privacy while ensuring publishers can earn what they need to fund great content and advertisers can reach the right people for their products.

"Our technical approach and the implementation details may vary based on the unique characteristics of each, but our vision to uplevel user privacy while preserving access to free content is consistent across web, mobile app, connected TV, digital audio -- and whatever the next area to emerge may be," it added.

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