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Sameer Samat from Google Product Management presented the upcoming Android 12 innovations at the developer conference in Mountain View, California, last month. Google has announced that it will let users opt out of being tracked by advertisers on the newest version of Android starting later this year.

Google follows Apple’s lead on tracking, letting Android 12 users opt out later this year

  • An update to Google Play services in late 2021 will allow users of the latest version of Android to opt out of being tracked by advertisers
  • Google has been looking for a way to give more control to Android users that would be less stringent than Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency feature

Google will let Android mobile software users opt out of being tracked by advertisers on their smartphone applications, following an earlier move by rival Apple Inc to bolster privacy on iPhones.

The option will become available in late 2021, with a Google Play services update, the Alphabet Inc. unit said on a support website. Developers will no longer be able to see a user’s unique advertising ID if that person has declined to receive personalised ads. Unlike Apple’s feature, users won’t be opted out of ad tracking by default.

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For months, Google has been mulling a way to give Android users more control over ad tracking with a less stringent approach than Apple’s, Bloomberg reported. In May, Google said it would create a safety section in its Play Store in 2022 so Android users can see what data developers collect about them and share, plus give access to additional privacy and security information.

Apple roiled the mobile advertising industry in April when it debuted its App Tracking Transparency feature, which requires users to opt in to being tracked by apps for personalised advertising. Developers expect to lose revenue from the change because most consumers likely won’t agree to have their data collected.

Google said the Play services roll-out will affect apps running on Android 12 devices starting in late 2021 and migrate to other devices with Google Play in early 2022.