In February last year, Google announced a multi-year initiative to build the Privacy Sandbox on Android. Following a year of development, the initiative has now entered its next phase. The company has started rolling out the first beta version of Android’s Privacy Sandbox to eligible devices. The program, which aims to protect user privacy with new digital advertising solutions, is also in the works for Chrome.
Originally announced for the web in August 2019, Google has been taking its own sweet time with the development of Privacy Sandbox. It initially planned to roll out the system last year. However, the company has delayed the rollout multiple times over the past couple of years saying that developers are asking for more time to evaluate and test the new technology. The web version is currently projected to be available publicly in the second half of this year. It will be in full force next year.
The Android version, meanwhile, is now available for a “small percentage of Android 13 devices” for beta testing. Google says it will expand the program to more people over time. Selected users will receive an Android notification encouraging them to participate in the Privacy Sandbox beta. A dedicated settings menu will let you manage your interests and preferences. You can also choose to exit the beta program or rejoin it from the same place.
Google begins beta testing Privacy Sandbox for Android
You are probably aware that apps and websites track your online activities to serve you relevant ads. They use various mechanisms, most notably third-party cookies, to create your online profile where they list your interests based on your activities. The problem with this system is that these apps and websites know everything you do on the internet. It’s a real bummer for your privacy. Google wants to change the whole game with the Privacy Sandbox initiative.
Instead of creating individual profiles, Privacy Sandbox on the web will create a group of people with similar interests and hide your data within those groups. The system works slightly differently on Android, as it uses exclusive solutions designed for mobile apps. But the bottom line is that Privacy Sandbox will “limit sharing of user data with third parties and operate without cross-app identifiers,” while still giving ad publishers enough information to serve tailored ads. It remains to be seen how app developers respond to the new system. We will keep you posted about Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative.