Google’s move against individual web tracking might be good for consumer privacy—and could look good to antitrust investigators—but it will also consolidate Google’s power in interactive advertising, several advertising sources told Fast Company on Wednesday.
Google, which controls more than half of the global interactive advertising business, said Wednesday it will stop targeting ads based on browsing data collected about individuals as they move around the web. Such data is gathered when a marketer or ad-tech company drops a cookie—a line of code that can be used to record website visits—into a user’s browser. Google already said last year its Chrome browser would no longer support the practice, effective in 2022, but now the company says it won’t develop an alternative way to track individuals.
The news is not being greeted warmly by the ad industry, much of which favors individual tracking of some sort to make ads more targeted, relevant, and click-worthy. “It is a massive blow to industry efforts, and a bold move during a time when they are under scrutiny through the Department of Justice,” says John Donahue, CEO of digital services consultancy WLxJS, in a text to Fast Company.