Google Testing Privacy-Enhanced Ad Serving

    August 10, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

New privacy practices announced by Google will get a workout in a test of third-party ad serving technology.

Google Testing Privacy-Enhanced Ad Serving
Google Testing Privacy-Enhanced Ad Serving

Google announced its ad-serving tests will employ cookies with shorter expiration dates, and anonymization of data after 18 months. The company formulated these new policies in response to criticism over search privacy in the US and the European Union.

They will be tested in Google’s latest round of ad experimentation. The company provided more details on the official Google blog:

In our ad-serving tests, we’re introducing an opt-out mechanism so people can opt out of the test ad-serving cookie if they wish. In addition, we’re going to experiment with ways the industry could provide improved transparency for consumers and providing users with additional controls over the data gathered by ad servers. Some of the ideas we’re exploring include:

•  using "crumbled" cookies, so that the data typically associated with one unique identifying number or "cookie ID" will be broken up among multiple different cookies and diffuse the ad history of individual users;

•  providing better forms of notice within ads, to help users understand who is serving the ads they see, and what data is being collected; and

•  giving users the ability to provide feedback to us about the ads they like and don’t like.

Privacy issues have become a front and center topic in Google’s bid to purchase third-party ad server DoubleClick. Complaints from privacy advocates have led to the US Government taking an interest in the acquisition and the potential for one company to control personal information about millions of Internet users.

Proving to Congress and the FTC that the buy won’t give Google a monopoly in the online advertising market has to happen to quell antitrust concerns. It’s a challenge that they will try to address, with this test as part of the process.