Google Takes First Steps in Rolling Out Android’s Privacy Sandbox

Earlier this year, Google announced the Privacy Sandbox on Android, a new system designed to eventually replace today’s existing third-party cookie schemes and reinvent a more privacy-centric way to serve ads. After an initial round of alpha testing and feedback, Google announced on Thursday that the first developer sandbox preview is now available as part of Android 13 beta 1.

The Privacy Sandbox is a multi-year development effort that “will limit the sharing of user data with third parties and operate without cross-app identifiers, including the advertising identifier,” Google wrote in an announcement in February. “We are also exploring technologies that reduce the potential for covert data collection, including safer ways for apps to integrate with ad SDKs. »

This preview provides developers with an early look at the Sandbox Runtime and Topics SDK API so they can better understand how it will fit into their applications and processes once it is officially released. We first saw API Topics in January. It pulls data from the Chrome browser to identify the user’s top five interests for the week, based on their search and browsing history. These topics are then matched against a database of topics from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Google’s own data. Partner publishers can then ping the Topics API, see what the user is currently in, and then serve the most appropriate ads without having to know all the details about their potential customer.

Developers will also have access to an early version of the Fledge API. This allows sites to run “remarketing” to existing users, i.e. show users ads to remind them that they left items in their shopping cart and need to check out already. The Sandbox comes with everything developers will need to test it, including the Android SDK and 64-bit Android Emulator. The company intends to further refine the toolset over the coming months and welcomes feedback and questions from the developer community.

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