Soon Android users will be capable of opting out of advertising tracking similar to iOS users. The functionality is said to be available later this year with a Google Play Services update. Apple already offers its iPhone users the option to opt-out of being tracked by advertisers to strengthen privacy on its devices.
According to the Alphabet Inc. support website, the new privacy option will come into effect in late 2021. When this feature is executed the Android user will have the control to block tracking by opting out of personalisations. The developers will then stop seeing the user’s unique advertising ID if the user restricted tracking and receive personalized ads on their device.
For those who are unaware of advertising ID, it is a unique user-resettable ID for advertising, provided by Google Play services which are used by the developers to track and set out personalised ads on the user’s device. According to the company, the advertising ID gives users better controls and provides developers with a simple, standard system to continue to monetise their apps. So when the feature is enabled it will allow users to reset their identifier or opt-out of personalised ads (formerly known as interest-based ads) within Google Play apps.
The company via its support page said, “ Starting in late 2021 when a user opts out of interest-based advertising or ads personalization, the advertising identifier will not be available. You will receive a string of zeros in place of the identifier.” When the update is dropped in the advertising ID will be removed when a user opts out of personalisation using advertising ID in Android settings.
If any attempt is made to access the identifier will receive a string of zeros instead of the identifier. Also, the developers and ad/analytics service providers will be able to receive notifications for opt-out preferences. In addition to this apps targeting Android 12 will be required to proclaim a Google Play services normal permission in the manifest file.
As per Google the feature will be rolled out in a phased manner and affect apps running on Android 12 devices starting in late 2021 and will expand to affect apps running on devices that support Google Play in early 2022. The company also assures that it will provide an alternative solution to support essential use cases such as analytics and fraud prevention in July.
The feature is very similar to the Apple iPhone called App Tracking Transparency (ATT) that needs users to give direct permission before allowing apps to track them for showing personalised advertisements.
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