Today, Tuesday, Google announced the availability of a trial version of the Privacy Sandbox feature for a number of users of the Android operating system, as part of its efforts to protect user data from advertisers.
What is Privacy Sandbox?
The American tech giant had revealed at this time last year that it was working on a multi-year initiative to improve privacy and re-model ad tracking in Android phones, in an effort to make the platform compatible with the App Tracking Transparency feature in the iOS system from Apple.
After launching an early preview version for developers last April, Google said in a publication today that the public beta version of the Privacy Sandbox feature on Android will be launched starting tomorrow for a limited number of Android 13 devices, allowing users and developers to actually test the new technology.
The company added that access to the public beta will expand over time, and devices selected to participate in the test will receive a notification informing users of their eligibility.
Privacy Sandbox on Android is a suite of tools that aims to create a new standard for how advertisers and websites can access consumer information without violating users’ privacy.
Android devices currently assign each user a re-settable identifier called the Android Advertising ID, which is used to track users’ behavior and build a personal advertising profile that can be used by app developers.
Privacy Sandbox aims to replace privacy-preserving APIs with advertising identifiers, which Google claims will limit sharing of user data with third parties, and remove cross-application identifiers while preserving targeted ad serving.
Google said: “Privacy Sandbox Beta provides a new API designed with privacy as a priority, and does not use identifying tools that track your activity across apps and websites.” “Apps that choose to opt-in to the beta version can use these APIs to show you relevant ads and measure their effectiveness,” she added.
The Privacy Sandbox feature on Android is similar in some ways to the Privacy Sandbox project on the web, which aims to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome starting in 2024.
Google says both projects share the same vision of improving user privacy while supporting critical business capabilities, but they use distinct technologies and will be developed independently.
Users who choose to participate in the beta can manage the personal interests that ads can target them with by heading to the Privacy Sandbox section of Android settings.
For example, if you see ads for camping equipment and sleeping bags, Android may have assumed from downloaded applications and application activity that you are interested in the Outdoors topic, so you can see that in the section where you are allowed to cancel the topics whose ads you do not want to see and choose to subscribe or Return to Privacy Sandbox at any time.