Google’s AI advertising revolution: More privacy, but problems remain same

In March 2021, Google announced that support for third-party cookies would cease and move to a more private web first. While the industry and academics expect change, there is still confusion about the new model and cynicism that it really is the kind of online privacy revolution that Google claims.

To evaluate this, we need to understand this new model and what is changing. The current approach to advertising technology (adtech) is that platform companies offer us a ‘free’ service in exchange for our data. The data is collected by third-party cookies that are downloaded to our devices with which a browser can record our activities on the internet. It is used to create profiles and predict our sensitivity to specific advertising campaigns.

Recent developments have enabled digital advertisers to use deep learning, a form of artificial intelligence (AI) in which people do not set parameters. Although more powerful, it still follows the old model, in which we rely on the collection and storage of our data to train models and make predictions. Google’s plans go even further.

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