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June 2, 2021

Google I/O: a step towards better privacy?

Posted by

Brice Le Blévennec

Last week, announcements at the annual Google I/O conference caused quite a stir in the digital sphere. Among the new apps, features and other updates, there was one key piece of information that echoed an announcement from two years ago. The way we deal with user data will completely change in the coming months: third party cookies and user tracking will belong to the past. Alexis Mons, Head of Legal & GDPR at Emakina, reacts to these announcements.

User data will be turned upside down

Google promised changes two years ago and they’re finally making it happen. It’s a good reminder for those who were still doubting or who no longer believed it possible. Our relationship with user data is going to be completely turned upside down and it’s coming up fast!

There is no time for procrastination left. If we want to keep working with Google, we must adapt to and adopt good practices. Without the valuable help of Google’s analytics and user tracking, it’s more necessary than ever to create a strategy for user engagement.

The start of the Privacy Sandbox era

Google is clarifying its cookieless strategy and its willingness to eliminate user tracking in order to reassure authorities and users. But Google also wants to reassure its customers by promising them efficient targeting and conversion tracking (despite changes in the operating way). How will it achieve this? With a whole suite of new APIs, set as new standards.

First-party context only

Only first-party cookies will survive. Third-party cookies will be banned, allowing users to block the transfer of their personal data from one site to another. These actions are in line with announcements two years ago.

Personalised ads are still relevant

Less user tracking shouldn’t affect Google’s clients, the advertisers, in any way. It will still be possible to target ads and measure their impact, particularly through the conversion measurement module. The promise is that data related to user conversions will be collected without individual tracking and by Chrome itself, with all necessary security guarantees. In short, Chrome will guarantee user safety without harming business. This will imply consent, but in the Google way.

Federated login for all

Google wants to encourage its users to browse in a connected way with a federated login. This single sign-on feature allows the user to log in once to access several secure computer applications and websites all at once (e.g. Google Suite tools and YouTube).

It wants to push website publishers to integrate Google’s federated login and position itself as a universal ID. This is not of the preference of open standards supporters such as OpenID, who are criticising the fact that Google is promoting its standard and its standard only.

The beginning of a standards competition

No one has yet been able to really test all these APIs, which are only available in Europe in beta mode upon request. However, this is already being developed in the US, but with strong opposition, especially as the tools for ad targeting can’t work outside the Google environment.

In fact, Google is coming out of the woodwork by setting out its vision of a cookieless world and laying the foundations for future standards – quite different to those that exist today. By offering these concrete solutions, the company invites other players to answer and present their ideas and initiatives in the same spirit. Google is setting a course and inviting random internet users, publishers and advertisers to follow its vision.

We will have to closely monitor the reaction of other competitors, who are certainly not inclined to adopt the standards that Google is setting out. This is the beginning of a long competition that is confirming the web fragmentation that a cookieless vision has opened up.

If you want to move forward with Google, the message is that Moutain View is driving this revolution. You have no choice but to jump on the bandwagon. Don’t hesitate testing all of this as soon as possible, and make up your mind.

Increasing web fragmentation

Google is offering a full assortment of new updates improving performances and features – specific to Google Chrome. This move to a third-party cookieless environment perfectly captures web fragmentation.

As a brand, it will now be necessary to rethink how to use each browser (e.g. Chrome, Safari, Firefox) and even each environment (iOS, Android) in order to maximise exposure – regardless of the operating system. Users will be offered different experiences depending on the devices/browsers they use, with specific features for each one of them.

Brands need to think about how they provide a global, consistent and linear experience to users, knowing that they will be using different browsers, devices and operating systems.

At Emakina, the user is at the heart of everything we do. We offer our expertise to take advantage of this situation and ensure that your users have a positive brand experience despite web fragmentation. We’ll help you create a global strategy to help you adapt to all environments.

Let’s discuss it together!

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