Google plans to stop selling ads based on individuals’ browsing across multiple websites, a change that could hasten upheaval in the digital advertising industry.
The Alphabet Inc. company said Wednesday that it plans next year to stop using or investing in tracking technologies that uniquely identify web users as they move from site to site across the internet.
The decision, coming from the world’s biggest digital-advertising company, could help push the industry away from the use of such individualized tracking, which has come under increasing criticism from privacy advocates and faces scrutiny from regulators.
Advertising that can’t track an individual doesn’t make a $50 billion company. Google can know if I buy a Twix candy bar in a store the same day I saw an ad on YouTube for one, and that kind of tracking knowledge is the holy grail to advertisers. Saying I’m deeply skeptical that Google will just give that up is an understatement.