Google will offer new tools to provide users with more information about the ads that they see, continuing with recent efforts to become more transparent and increase privacy choices.
Along with its existing feature of ‘Why this ad?’ the company, which corners a large chunk of the global digital advertising pie, is launching a tool called ‘About this ad’, which will show users the verified name of the advertiser.
‘About this ad’ will initially be available for display ads purchased through Google Ads and Display & Video 360, and the company will bring it to other ad surfaces throughout 2021, said Mike Schulman, VP, Ads Privacy and Safety, at Google.
“Due to the complexity of the digital ads ecosystem and the large number of entities involved, it’s typically not clear to users which companies are even involved in showing them an ad,” added Schulman.
To provide detailed information about the ads on the web, Google released a new tool on Friday, called Ads Transparency Spotlight, as an alpha extension from the Chrome Web Store. “We’ll continue to improve this extension based on feedback from users, and over time we expect to offer additional disclosures about ads, as well as introduce controls. Our hope is that other technology providers will build similar transparency and control capabilities into the experiences they offer as well,” Schulman said.
A few weeks ago, Google reset its privacy settings — which will delete people’s search, location and other usage history after 18 months, by default.
“This was done to keep user information safe, treat it responsibly, and put the user in control,” Alphabet Inc and Google chief executive Sundar Pichai had said.
Google also plans to phase out support for third-party cookies, apart from introducing a Privacy Sandbox for open initiatives.
As part of the Privacy Sandbox, several proposals are being considered that would solve for use cases like ad selection, conversion measurement, and fraud protection in a way that does not reveal identifying information about individual users.
One of the proposed Application Programme Interfaces (APIs) — for trust tokens that could combat ad fraud by distinguishing between bots and real users — is now available for testing by developers, and more will move to live testing soon.
“The future state of digital advertising promises new technologies, new standards, and better, more sustainable approaches, but it will take some time to get there… We’ll continue our work to move the digital ads industry towards a more privacy-forward future,” said Schulman.