Google to Stop Selling Targeted Ads Based on Browsing History

Google will stop selling targeted ads based on individuals' browsing histories and won't invest in ad tech that uniquely identifies web users.
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Search giant Google  (GOOGL) - Get Report on Wednesday said it would not track individuals on the web after it phases out existing ad-tracking technology from Chrome browsers, amid rising concern about privacy.

Shares of the Mountain View, Calif., unit of Alphabet at last check dropped 1% to $2,043.

In a blog post, David Temkin, Google's director of product management for ads privacy and trust, said, "Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.

"Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers."

Google clocked an increase of 22% in advertising revenue to $46.2 billion in the fourth quarter compared with a year earlier. The result exceeded Wall Street estimates.

Google first said early last year that it would get rid of third-party cookies, which for decades have enabled online ads. The move was designed to meet growing data-privacy concern in Europe and the U.S.

"Advances in aggregation, anonymization, on-device processing and other privacy-preserving technologies offer a clear path to replacing individual identifiers," Temkin added in the blog post.

Google said that next year it planned to stop using or investing in tracking technologies that uniquely identify web users as they browse the internet.

"This points to a future where there is no need to sacrifice relevant advertising and monetization in order to deliver a private and secure experience," Temkin said. 

Google accounted for 52% of last year’s global digital ad spending of $292 billion, according to Jounce Media, a digital-ad consultancy, The Wall Street Journal reported.