Tech giant Apple yesterday (April 26) has released its latest software update for iPhone, the iOS 14.5. However, this has directly pitched Apple against Google and Facebook. The prickly issue is the app tracking feature which promises to protect user privacy.
App of Contention
Apple’s iOS 14.5 is the latest update to its operating system used across a majority of its devices. The update has several new elements, but the one that bothers Facebook and Google is its privacy feature.
The new app tracking transparency will request users for their permission before allowing any app to collect their IDFA tag. The Identifier For Advertisers (IDFA) tag is a unique device identifier that is used in conjunction with cookies and tracking pixels to create a virtual database of each user.
This database is then used to create ads specifically for each user and to determine each ad’s effectiveness. Earlier surveys suggest that up to 80 percent of all users will refuse such a request. This goes against the revenue models of Facebook and Google.
What ails Google and Facebook
The feature will significantly dent the advertising efficiency of these two giants. If 80 percent of all iOS users refuse to let apps collect their IDFA information, Google stands to lose an estimated $18 billion in the next 12 months.
Facebook is also likely to lose around $8 billion in the same period. Apple users constitute a significant proportion of its user base. The new feature of the Apple iOS 14.5 will not allow Google to use its ad-related services on many of its platforms including YouTube, Chrome, Maps, and more.
New Tech May Beat Privacy App
Apple has always positioned itself as a privacy-first company. The move is supposed to give its users greater control over how their data is collected and used. Apple’s move comes at a time when digital privacy concerns are being increasingly discussed and debated.
However, Apple’s move alone will not stop apps from tracking the user’s information. Device identification uses every browsing device, for example, the operating system, version of web browser, and the IP address, to identify it uniquely. Many companies are starting to move to this form of data tracking.
Google’s new Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) is one such new identifying technology. It will collect information about browsing habits and assign users to a flock with similar browsing histories. Each of these flocks, with their own unique IDs, will then be shared with advertisers to show each group’s interests.
Apple's move to protect user privacy hasn’t come as a surprise to many industry experts as the company has historically valued privacy. However, the latest move has served to deepen the divide between user-focused tech companies and advertiser-focused tech companies.
(Edited by : Jomy)