After Apple got the ball rolling with its app tracking transparency feature to make privacy almost uncompromising for iOS users, Google announced something similar that would put Android users off of advertisers.

The feature, while similar in scope to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency, differs slightly when it comes to actual implementation. For example, Android offers a toggle that allows users to turn off tracking by all apps at once if it’s enabled. Also, the feature is not enabled by default, which means that users need to specifically set the switch for the feature to take effect.

In contrast, Apple allows advertisers to control tracking at the app level, so users can allow which apps they prefer to track and turn it off for those they don’t. Also, the anti-tracking feature is enabled by default in iOS, much to the chagrin of Facebook or other advertisers.

Google said that disabling the proposed feature will make the individual user’s IDFA inaccessible to advertisers who will instead see just a series of zeros. Without IDFA, advertisers have no access to the user’s online activities, such as the apps they have visited, the things they are looking for or the websites they have visited. In the absence of such data, advertising agencies fear that their advertising campaigns could be much less targeted.

Google was reluctant to take such strict measures to keep app tracking in check because such a move could have a serious impact on its advertising business. However, since rival Apple is offering such a feature with its latest iOS 14.5 update, Google may have been forced to offer a similar feature on Android. However, it is currently unknown how the impact of the upcoming feature on its own advertising business will be mitigated.

Mountain View meanwhile announced that said feature will be available towards the end of the year and will be rolled out as an update to its Google Play services. The update will be made available in phases and it could be early 2022 before the effects are felt.

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