Google Reportedly Says Privacy Drove Decision To Cut Data Rights To Mobile Carriers

Google continues to limit the data it provides to partners -- first search marketers and now, mobile carriers.

On Monday, the Alphabet company reportedly confirmed it has shuttered the service that provided wireless carriers with information on weak spots in their network coverage.

It’s not clear whether Google made the decision based on a move to avoid data breaches, or due to further scrutiny from lawmakers in Europe and the United States.

The service, known as Mobile Network Insights, used a map similar to Google Maps to identify signal strengths and connection speed data in various coverage areas, Reuters reports.

The free service to carriers and vendors launched in March 2017. The data came from devices whose users opted in to sharing location history, use and diagnostics data, relying on insights from Google Android’s operating system.

Google shuttered the program in April. Some of the four people who acknowledged the closure told Reuters that there were other challenges, such as ensuring data quality and connectivity upgrades.

Scaling back the amount of data Google gives to advertisers, agencies, brands and vendors isn’t new.

As far back as 2012, Jonathan Kagan, VP of search at Cogniscient Media, said that while at a former agency, the team noticed a change for large operations in paid search. He said this happened around the time the agency began seeing a heavier push on automation. “I think it was most evident when Google rolled out enhanced campaigns, taking away formal device segmentation control,” Kagan said.

In another move that took place in Malaysia, Google shuttered its Video Checkup for YouTube. It launched the data service in 2017 to allow customers to compare their provider’s streaming capabilities and quality in a specific spot with other carriers.

YouTube spokeswoman Mariana De Felice told Reuters the company had relatively low user engagement rates. The company did this by “analyzing billions of anonymized watch results each month, YouTube is able to assess video quality by a provider as well as map areas of higher or lower quality,” according to one report.

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