Like Apple, Google seemingly wants to help users push back on data collection

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Usually, big updates are marked by a round number such as Version 42, but a forthcoming update to iOS 14 has been grabbing headlines for weeks now.

The forthcoming iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 updates have the likes of Facebook concerned, while users are eager to get the update. This is because once those updates are applied, users will have a new feature called App Tracking Transparency.

The feature is rather simple in that it will be force apps to request permission to gather user data from the moment the user starts using the app. This means you could stop Facebook from collecting your data. Naturally, this has the likes of Facebook concerned as it means there is less granular data to share with advertisers and therefore ads will likely not be as relevant to you.

This is a great feature for users and clearly Google recognises this as the firm is reportedly working on adding similar functionality to Android.

This is according to Bloomberg which cites a source who chose to remain unidentified, so take this news with a pinch of salt.

The Google version of App Tracking Transparency will allegedly be less aggressive according to the Bloomberg report, which makes sense.

Unlike Apple, Google has a thriving advertising business and cutting into those revenues will likely hurt Google more than it will help Google.

How much would it hurt? Well during Q4 2020, Alphabet reported $46.199 billion in revenue from advertising. Total revenue for the quarter was $56.898 billion so advertising is a sizeable chuck of Alphabet’s revenue stream.

So why then is the firm looking at restricting the data apps can gather from Android users? Public pressure may be one of the driving factors as privacy is top of everybody’s mind these days.

Whether Alphabet implements this limited data collection is still very much in the air.

Limiting the amount of data other apps collect might not include, you know, the operating system those apps run on. Limiting the amount of information Facebook – for example – has on a user while not limiting the data Alphabet/Google can collect sounds like a smart move. We don’t foresee the above happening though, as the firms run the risk of being accused of antitrust behaviour and we’re sure that isn’t something the Goog wants more of.

With Apple’s iOS and iPadOS updates expected soon, we’re going to keep an eye on Google and Android for news of a similar feature.

Perhaps 2021 is the year that privacy lives again. We can only hope.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.