Google Promises Not To Build A Privacy 'Backdoor'

Google Marketing Livestream will kick off Thursday with a focus on change and consumer privacy running through most announcements.

The past year has seen a lot of change and has been challenging, but people found ways to remain optimistic.

Searches with the words “ideas for beginners” grew by more than 100%, and searches for “how to invest” grew by more than 70%.

As the world recovers the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and comes out of lockdowns, Google sees more opportunities to deliver what people seek. And amongst the change, privacy and trust must remain.

“When you use our products, you trust us with your data, and it’s our responsibility to protect and respect it,” said Jerry Dischler, vice president and general manager of Google Ads.

Dischler said the company never sells consumers’ personal information, and never uses sensitive information for ads with themes such as health, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Google never uses the content that users create or the content they store in apps like Drive, Gmail, and Photos for any advertising purposes.



For years, the advertising industry relied on an implied contract with internet users who agreed that in exchange for personal data they would let advertisers show relevant advertising, people would receive free access to content.

That no longer works. Some 81% of people say the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits, according to Google. They are increasingly concerned about how they are being tracked when traveling across the internet.

Google sees this in what people search for on Google, and in the ways privacy controls across Google products are used, and being reactive is just not a sustainable approach.

Earlier this year, Google announced that once third-party cookies are phased out, the company will not build alternative identifiers to track individuals browsing across the web. And it will not use identifiers in its products.

Google is banking on the ability to “build a privacy-safe, ad-funded internet” and successfully transition to a world without cookies, but it will require three things from the industry.

1.  Building great relationships with customers has always been critical to a successful business. In today's privacy-safe world it's more important than ever. Our industry needs to properly use consented, first-party data. That starts by building deep engagement with your customers - the sooner the better.

2.  Automation and machine learning make forward-looking, predictive marketing possible by helping you identify key patterns and trends. With the right type of automation, effective, privacy-safe ad selection and measurement are possible. These technologies can help provide visibility in cases where data or signals may be limited.

3.  A commit to new technologies that preserve privacy. Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox is an open source initiative to develop new technologies centered on advances in anonymization, on-device processing, and other privacy techniques. It’s truly a place for everyone -- where anyone can submit proposals and run experiments.

Google believes these technologies offer sustainable solutions for key digital advertising use cases, from interest-based ads to measurement and more. The company believes Privacy Sandbox is the right way forward for the industry, and plans to use the APIs for its own ads and measurement products, just like everyone else.

The vision is to connect buyers and sellers in a way that is open to the entire ecosystem.

For video, Google is making YouTube a destination with experiences that inspire discovery and action. For Google Ads, Google remains committed to a future where marketers can use automation. In measurement, Google is working ensure marketers gain the insights needed in a privacy-safe way.

“We will not build any backdoors for ourselves,” Dischler said. “Anyone can get involved in shaping these proposals. Protecting privacy can and should be a priority for everyone. The world of privacy has already changed, and the time to act is now.”


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