Google Experiments With Open-Source Browser Extension For Ad Transparency

Published by Lamin Kanteh on

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Earlier this year, Google kinda found itself in hot water when the company announced changes it planned to make to the Chrome browser.

The planned changes were supposed to target Chrome’s webRequest API and developers along with some security experts were a little suspicious of Google’s intentions as these modifications would likely break some extensions on Chrome.

This was outlined through the Company’s Manifest V3 document centered around what the search giant thinks the future for Chrome Extensions should be. 

The change will hit security-centric extensions like those that offer privacy-enhancing services including adblockers the hardest. 

Now, the company is launching an open-source browser extension whose main purpose is to promote transparency around online advertising by displaying information about the ads dotted across your screen.

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Online ad transparency is one patch within a grander initiative the company is calling Privacy Sandbox.

Privacy Sandbox entails a set of open standards with the aim to help internet browsers protect your privacy all the while ensuring entities who rely on collecting browser-based user data specifically advertisers, aren’t being left in the cold.

Google is the biggest advertising firm in the world and its relationship with those the create tools block ads on webpages have been sour from the get-go but this could be the company extending an olive branch to developers concerned about their adblockers.

Privacy activists have long decried the company’s iron-clad control over the web and user data that resides within but Google argued that content consumed by users of Chrome and other browsers is free only because it’s supported by data-driven advertisers.

With the mind, Google is hoping that the Privacy Sandbox initiative will protect user private data while they consume free online content but give advertisers enough maneuverable space to gather a non-invasive amount of data on consumers without turning to shady practices.

The extension– which is still in the experimental stage– is expected to be the bridge that holds the two parts together and its function is centered around giving users more control over the type of ads they see on webpages.

Users will get detailed information and better insights around why ads are being launched, what parties are responsible for said ads and what was the trigger point of the ad.

“We want to find a solution that both really protects user privacy and also helps content remain freely accessible on the web,” Justin Schuh, director with Chrome Engineering. At I/O we announced a plan to improve the classification of cookies, give clarity and visibility to cookie settings, as well as plans to more aggressively block fingerprinting… Collectively we believe all these changes will improve transparency, choice, and control.” the Company stated.

With the fear of privacy infringement forcing many users to turn to cookie blocking extensions, Google is hoping Privacy Sandbox will put out these fears as activating cookies allows advertisers to serve relevant ads to consumers. This, the company hopes will turn the internet into a fair game for both uses, the content they consume and advertisers.

Source

Read The Privacy Sandbox initiative Here


Lamin Kanteh

I live, breath, and dream technology. I've only known myself to push the boundaries on what's possible in my mental scope in relation to technology. And having been a writer for the good part of the past three years (covering varying subjects on the major mobile platforms), No place has ever felt more like home than Chrome OS. And as you may know, Chrome OS is ushering us into a future of the unknown and I'm here to help in the process of easing the way into that future via ItsChromeOS.

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