back to article In a trial run, Google Chrome to corral netizens into groups for tailored web ads rather than target individuals

Google on Monday said it will make some of its Privacy Sandbox proposals available for testing with the release of Chrome 89 in March as part of its effort to rewire the technical infrastructure of online advertising. The planned privacy defenses aren't entirely ready yet, but should be, eventually. "Advertising is essential …

  1. Sleep deprived
    Happy

    Opt-in advertising?

    The only ads I could perhaps opt-in to see might be from Victoria's Secret, but that doesn't mean I'm about to buy anything, which must be the underlying goal.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Opt-in advertising?

      The FloC group-by-interests ads trial is opt-in; if you don't opt in, you get your regular ads'n'web experience.

      C.

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: Opt-in advertising?

        There are ads on the internet? Oh yeah – I vaguely remember them being a thing in the days before ad blockers.

        1. Tom Chiverton 1

          Re: Opt-in advertising?

          And Google are blocking those via Manifest v3 so.... FireFox then ?

          1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

            Re: Opt-in advertising?

            Of course! If I can't block ads, Javascript (selectively), and as many trackers/analytics as possible with a browser, then I won't use it. Doesn't leave me many options, really. FF isn't perfect, but I've had no major problems with it – there do seem to be a lot of FF haters around here these days, though.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Listening to Google talking about privacy is

    like listening to Stalin lecturing about human rights.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: Listening to Google talking about privacy is

      "group product manager for user trust and privacy at Google" is just as credible as a "hunting party organiser and rabbit protector"

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Listening to Google talking about privacy is

        @MiguelC

        That is actually a better analogy than you think.

        Hunting conservators are very interested in the welfare and maintenance of the population of rabbits so there are more to hunt.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "serve them ads tailored to their supposed interests"

    Bollocks.

    The best you can manage is to show me ads based on what I bought yesterday.

    Utterly useless.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "serve them ads tailored to their supposed interests"

      Now it'll be showing you ads for what you and people who they think might be (or might not be) a bit like you, bought yesterday.

      In other words a bit like a combination of behavioural ads and what is "trending".

      Fundamentally still bloody useless, highly irritating, still chewing up my data allowance and no reason to stop using Adblock, noscript etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC - Re: "serve them ads tailored to their supposed interests"

        Google and ad companies simply do not care as long as they can keep the revenue stream rolling into their pockets.

  4. Spanners Silver badge
    Facepalm

    You will show me what you think I am interested in?

    If I want a look through amazon, or anything else, I have taken to using DuckDuckGo. I have found this gives me less cr4p later. If I do buy something, they do know I did that but they should also know that I may not want another one.

    For example, if I buy a new laptop, I will not be in the market for another one for a while. Stop showing me ads for what you know I have!

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: You will show me what you think I am interested in?

      > Stop showing me ads for what you know I have!

      Hey! People spend millions to build and maintain that sophisticated ad targeting system - Don't dis their hard work! You could scare potential advertising customers away!

  5. LDS Silver badge

    Why Google algorithms have full capital names like spy agencies codes?

    And they say "advertising" while meaning "tracking". Those are two unrelated activities, even if of course the latter can be used to try to sell the first better. I'm quite sure the effectiveness of targeted ads is far closer to the independent research number than the Google one - of course Google has nothing else to sell thereby needs to tell people its system is incredibly effective, to publish content-based ads you don't really a company with the WEBKRAKEN algorithm...

  6. Warm Braw Silver badge

    To its credit, Google...

    Not a phrase you hear often.

    Seems more likely that the same laws of which Google seems finally to be running scared already/will require explicit consent. Credit where credit is due.

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: To its credit, Google...

      How do they know which "group" to put you in, if not by tracking you individually?

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: To its credit, Google...

        Sorry, my original post was badly phrased. I meant that credit should go to the lawmakers rather than to Google for "opt-in" being the default - I very much doubt it was their preference. Why anyone would choose to do so is beyond me for the reason you so clearly state.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @katrinab - Re: To its credit, Google...

        Google is still tracking each one of us individually and then building groups that will sell to advertisers. What's not to understand ?

      3. not.known@this.address Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: To its credit, Google...

        "Tick Box 1 if you want ads related to Technology; Box 2 if you want ads related to Cars, Trucks and Bikes; Box 3 if you want ads related to Celebrities or Box 4 if you want ads related to Holidays. Not ticking a Box will automatically enrol you in the Pr0n group."

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Not ticking a box...

          Sounds like a plan with no drawbacks. What's your point?

  7. Howard Sway

    Continuity through obscurity

    appears to be the playbook here. Why should anybody, as a user of the web, have to concern themselves whatsoever with befuddling stuff about Federated Learning of Cohorts and First Locally-Executed Decision over Groups just so that they can browse as desired without Google wrapping their slimy tentacles around every single thing they do when online?

    It's become an arms race, where attempts to legislate against their gluttonous hunger for every morsel of user-connectable information are being met with ever more deliberately complicated and confusing counterproposals in the hope that if no-one understands the whole thing anymore, it will create lots of scope to sneak loopholes into the regulatory net that will let them carry on regardless.

    Instead of all this complicated jargony obfuscation, force them to understand the concept of You're Not Allowed To Intrude On My Privacy In Order To Sell Advertising And Fling It At Me.

    Chrome = Continue heaping rubbish over my eyeballs. I just hate how so many people have fallen for its' supposed superiority, when it's a complete user surveillance tool.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: You're Not Allowed To Intrude On My Privacy In Order To Sell Advertising And Fling It At Me

      YNATIOMPIOTSAAFIAM

      Catchy. Although, I'll not sure Welsh acronyms are the way forward.

  8. Long John Silver
    Pirate

    The introverted world of the marketing industry?

    "Advertising is essential to keeping the web open for everyone, ..."

    Really? Explain why.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: The introverted world of the marketing industry?

      > Explain why

      Well, you missed the rest of the sentence: "Keep the web open for everyone wanting to make an easy buck".

      They weren't speaking about you and me, we're just the sheep providing the wool, milk and meat they make their money with.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Long John Silver - Re: The introverted world of the marketing industry?

      Because somebody is getting filthy rich, that's why. They want to keep the web open for everyone and extremely profitable for a few.

  9. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Advertising has been a necessary evil since the hay day of print media when people were actually paying for the content through buying magazine, newspaper, and then later on TV for commercial channels.

    While there are people who will create content and not expect anything in return because they are passionate about the topic, most people who creating content and then letting people to view it for free online want a way to get money back in return. And so far no one has come up with a better option than advertising. Even ElReg where we are all on now, wouldn't be around if it weren't for the ads around the content.

    The issue I have is not with adverting but with the tracking and privacy concerns that come with it and how intrusive ads have become. If i had the option to dismiss ads i wasn't interested in and can choose topics that I was wanting to see ads about and they were just text or images, not full of javascript and other content that slows down my PC then I would be happy with the content/ads balance if it keeps website which I find useful free to use.

    1. aks

      The options seem to be, advertising funded, subscription funded, state funded, and special interest group funded. This applies to the web, radio, TV, etc.

      I'm not sure if one-time purchase funded fits into this breakdown.

      BTW, I don't have a solution to the question.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Agreed. I really don't mind advertising. But I have an ad blocker because of the tracking and malware it prevents. And sites that insist I disable my adblocker before visiting - fine, I'll go elsewhere. Other sites (like El Reg) point out the adblocker and politely ask if they can show ads that won't trip the adblocker - yeah, sure, go right ahead.

  10. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
    Pint

    Yeah, right.

    Sorry Google and the other adslingers, but unless uBlock origin, Ghostery, Privacy Badger et al suddenly cease to exist, I refer you to the reply given in Arkell v Pressdram (1971).

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