Much of the web, including this website, is primarily funded via advertising. And in recent years advertisers have chosen largely to focus on targeted advertising, which tracks user behavior as folks move from website to website to choose ads that are most likely to appeal to specific individuals.
Plenty of folks don’t like being tracked to that degree, so the use of ad-blockers, tracker-blockers, and privacy-focused web browsers and search engines are on the rise.
Browser makers have taken notice. Firefox has been getting progressively tougher on third-party cookies that could track your browsing behavior. And Google has been planning for a while to phase out support for third-party cookies on websites you visit in its Chrome browser for a while – even though Google makes most of its money from advertising.
If you worried that Google would just find other ways to track you, the company is now promising that it won’t… at least not on an individual level. Targeted advertising isn’t going away. But rather than targeting ads at the singular you, Google wants to move toward targeting ads at y’all… an aggregated, anonymized group of people with similar interests.
We’ll see if that’s enough to keep users from installing ad blockers en masse or switching to alternate services like the privacy-focused Brave web browser, which also just announced plans to launch its own privacy-focused search engine.
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
- Charting a course towards a more privacy-first web [Google]
Google says once third-party cookies are phased out from Chrome, the company will not use alternate methods to track individuals as they browse the web. Instead, the upcoming Privacy Sandbox may use anonymized, aggregated data for targeted ad delivery. Incidentally, Android Police found early signs of the Privacy Sandbox settings in the code for the latest beta build of Chrome for Android.
- Brave Search will be a privacy-focused search engine [Brave]
Privacy-focused web browser company Brave has acquired the maker of the privacy-centric Cliqz browser & search products, plans to launch a search engine. Brave Search is described as competition for Google, but it’ll really go head to head with DuckDuckGo.
- Arizona advances bill forcing Apple and Google to allow Fortnite-style alternative payment options [The Verge]
Arizona lawmakers are moving a bill that’d require Apple and Google to allow Android and iOS app developers to use their own billing methods without sharing a cut with the App Store and Google Play. It passed the state house and moves to the senate next. If the bill becomes law, unclear what impact this could have nationwide since it has plenty of provisions that are specific to Arizona (such as whether an app developer and/or customer is located in the state), but it could pave the way for similar laws elsewhere.
- There’s Finally a Good Color E Ink Tablet for Comic Books [Gizmodo]
This PocketBook InkPad Color review from Gizmodo examines E Ink’s 2nd-gen Kaleido color display technology. It still tops out at 4096 colors and 100 pixels per inch (or 300 for black & white content), but saturation and viewing angles have improved.
- Android 12 Developer Preview 1.1 [Google]
Google has released Android 12 Developer Preview 1.1. There are no new features, but a bunch of bug fixes for WiFi connectivity, screenshots, battery drain, system stability, and more.
- GPD Win 3 crowdfunding campaign is almost over [Indiegogo]
Just three more days to pre-order the GPD Win 3 handheld gaming PC with Intel Tiger Lake at crowdfunding prices ($799 and up). It should ship to backers in May. Check out Liliputing’s hands-on preview for performance notes, photos, and videos.
- AYA Neo accessories [@AYA_device]
Speaking of handheld gaming PCs, the makers of the AYA Neo handheld gaming PC are showing pictures of upcoming accessories including a dock, screen protector, case, and joystick caps. The Neo crowdfunding campaign has been delayed while the company deals with component shortages.
Keep up on the latest headlines by following Liliputing on Twitter and Facebook.
🔊Some of the accessories:
– Docking station
– Tempered screen protector
– Carrying case
– Joystick cap#AYANEO #console #gamingpc pic.twitter.com/bwco07UbS2
— AYA NEO (@AYA_device) March 3, 2021
You can also find the latest news about open source phones by following our sister site Linux Smartphones on Facebook and Twitter.
I tried using Duck Duck Go for a while. I liked the privacy aspect, but it took a long time to find relevant search results. Sometimes I do searches on Bing or Yahoo, but relevant search results aren’t easy to find there either. Google just works better and finds my stuff faster. But Google is blocked in China. When I’m in China I have to use Bing to find relevant search results in English. A note to advertisers: When it’s time for me to buy something online, Amazon is where I go first. Stop wasting my time with ads everywhere else and just give me a good price with free shipping on Amazon.
Google says, “we will not build”. Doesn’t stop them from using the methods they’ve already got.
And if google really wants a free and open web, well quite frankly, everything they do makes for the opposite of that.
I feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention Google Analytics and Google Safebrowsing.
Furthermore, there’s another important implication of this action that I didn’t think about at the time.
A lot of people only realize they were being tracked at all when they got ads for things they mentioned in in-person conversations or went near but didn’t actually want to buy (gauging a person’s interest in things in real time is hard).
So by de-personalizing ads, it will be harder for people to realize they are being tracked and harder to persuade people that they shouldn’t be tracked.
The other day, I got a popup ad that said “do this to empty your bowels every morning.” What the heck? Are the tracking me in the bathroom now too?
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