By Daisuke Wakabayashi
Google has said that it was working on privacy measures meant to limit the sharing of data on smartphones running its Android software. But the company promised those changes would not be as disruptive as a similar move by Apple last year.
Apple’s changes to its iOS software on iPhones asked users for permission before allowing advertisers to track them. Apple’s permission controls — and, ultimately, the decision by users to block tracking — have had a profound impact on internet companies that built businesses on so-called targeted advertising.
Google did not provide an exact timeline for its changes but said it would support existing technologies for at least two more years.
Anthony Chavez, a vice president at Google’s Android division, said that it was too early to gauge the potential impact of Google’s changes, which are meant to limit the sharing of data across apps and with third parties. But he emphasized that the company’s goal was to find a more private option for users while also allowing developers to continue to make advertising revenue.
As the world’s two biggest smartphone software providers, Google and Apple hold significant sway over what mobile apps can do on billions of devices. Changes to increase privacy or provide users with greater control over their data — a growing demand from customers, regulators, and politicians — come at a cost for companies collecting data to sell ads personalized to a user’s interests and demographics.