App developers may get their first glimpse at the new system starting today, with the release of the first developer preview of Privacy Sandbox on Android, following in the footsteps of previous tests in Google's Chrome browser on the desktop.
Last year, Apple added App Tracking Transparency to iOS, and the resulting shift in the data flow from mobile users shook even Facebook. Now, Google, whose business model is based on targeted advertising, is planning its multi-year adjustment to mobile ad tracking and privacy.
This new strategy is expected to replace Android's present advertising ID, which is a user-resettable ID for each device, with a Privacy Sandbox with "new, more private advertising solutions," similar to Apple's approach, but we still don't know which technology would be used. This developer preview runs on top of the Android 13 Developer Beta and includes images for Pixel phones ranging from the Pixel 4 to the Pixel 6.
Google's pitch has been that it can protect user privacy better than previous methods while still giving data for targeted advertising on websites like this one and inside many free apps. Competitors, privacy groups, and regulators have all said that Google's strategies will threaten privacy and possibly offer Google an unfair competitive edge. Last year, 15 state attorneys general filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, targeting the Privacy Sandbox.
Developers who participate in the beta will receive an early peek at the Privacy Sandbox and Google's cookie-replacing Topics API, as well as learn how they might work in practice.