A new extension for Google Chrome will now highlight the types of user data being used to inform personalized advertising efforts.
The Ads Transparency Spotlight extension is designed to shine a light on the mechanisms behind bespoke advertising campaigns that target a specific user’s wants and needs, based on a variety of data held collected on that individual.
The new Chrome extension reveals the number of advertisements present on any given webpage, the companies involved in serving those ads, and the precise data types used to determine which ads are served (e.g. age, gender, location, interests etc.).
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The Ads Transparency Spotlight extension is available in alpha via the Chrome Web Store.
Google Chrome extension
The new Google Chrome extension draws its data from the Ad Disclosure Schema API, which gives advertisers a means of providing information about how their ad campaigns operate.
Since not all advertisers use the API, the usefulness of the Ads Transparency Spotlight extension is limited for now. However, Google hopes the schema will be adopted by other companies operating in the advertising industry in the near future.
“At the time of this alpha release (July 2020), the extension only shows information about those ads purchased through Google Ads that have implemented the Ads Transparency Spotlight(Alpha) Data Disclosure schema,” reads the GitHub listing.
“As additional ad tech providers implement this schema, information about these ads will also appear in the extension. Over time, we hope the industry will incorporate the Ads Transparency Spotlight (Alpha) Data Disclosure schema into their ads.”
Building on its efforts to improve user privacy and the wider ads ecosystem, Google has also announced a new API designed to address issues associated with receding support for third-party cookies.
Although cookies are used widely by advertisers to track users’ web activity, they are also used to prevent fraudulent transactions online. The new Trust Token API will work around this issue, once third-party cookies have been retired, by generating a cryptographic token websites can use to distinguish between a real and bot-generated transaction.
The Trust Token API is still in development and a launch date is yet to be announced.
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