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Android to Introduce Privacy Sandbox to Reduce Ad Tracking of Users

A beta developer preview of the privacy protection system is planned for late 2022, though Google won't abandon its current system for at least two years.

Google's Pixel 6 Pro smartphone
Google's Pixel 6 Pro is one of the most recent Android phones.
Stephen Shankland/CNET

A Privacy Sandbox will be coming to Android devices, Google said Wednesday. The effort is designed to offer more privacy protection by limiting the user data shared with third parties for advertising.

This follows Apple's move last year that requires apps to ask for your permission before tracking your activity across apps and the web. That move was fought by some companies including Facebook, which makes billions of dollars in annual revenue through targeted advertising.

Google has yet to fully design, build and test the Privacy Sandbox on Android and will continue supporting its existing advertising platform for at least the next two years, the company said. However, Android developers can review the initial design proposals now and provide feedback. A beta developer preview is planned by the end of 2022.

Read more: What Digital Security Experts Wish You Knew About Data Privacy

"At Snap, we've made privacy a priority and placed it at the center of how we design our products," Snapchat parent company Snap said in a statement about the news. "We are excited to collaborate with Google to develop new privacy-preserving standards for Android."

Google said it is committed to not giving preferential treatment to its own ad products or sites and is inviting comment from regulators. Google is also looking into technology that could help reduce covert data collection.