"If digital advertising doesn't evolve to address the growing concerns people have about their privacy and how their personal identity is being used, we risk the future of the free and open web," Google's director of product management for ads privacy and trust David Temkin wrote in a blog post Wednesday. That's partly (regulatory pressure is also a significant factor) why the tech giant is promising it will scrap individual user tracking after it's finished phasing out third-party tracking cookies over the next year or so, Axios reports.
The advertising industry is mostly prepared for a future entirely without third-party cookies, but Axios notes that many ad tech companies are working to implement "work-around solutions" so advertisers can still target individuals through different technologies. However, Google says it is committed to avoiding that strategy.
Still, Google isn't completely abandoning targeted advertising. The goal, The Verge reports, is "to replace the more invasive methods of old with a new one of its own design, which it calls the Privacy Sandbox." Per The Wall Street Journal, this method involves analyzing web users' browsing habits, but groups them in with other users who have similar interests, creating "cohorts" for ad targeting. Temkin also notes Google will still use first-party data to target ads on its own publishing platforms, like YouTube. Read more at Axios,The Verge, and The Wall Street Journal.Tim O'Donnell
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — the leader of the lawsuit that attempted to reverse the 2020 election results — announced Wednesday he was leading coalition of Republican attorneys general in an antitrust lawsuit against Google. The suit, one of several antitrust actions taken against the tech giant, alleges Google has broken the law as it moved to secure its grasp on online advertising technology.
Google makes most of its money from advertising, including selling billions of ad spots on websites across the internet. And because Google had such a big hand in that market to begin with, it has been able to manipulate ad pricing to make more money and secure an even bigger hold on the market, the suit claims. "If the free market were a baseball game, Google positioned itself as the pitcher, the batter and the umpire," Paxton said in a video announcing the suit.
As Politico reported Tuesday, a group of bipartisan attorneys general are also planning to launch an antitrust lawsuit against Google, perhaps as soon as Thursday. Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, a Democrat, and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, a Republican, will reportedly lead the complain alleging Google redesigned its search engine in a way that hurt rivals. The Department of Justice meanwhile launched an antitrust suit against Google in October, alleging its partnership with Apple was just another attempt to secure its monopoly.
Google is likely searching for an easy way out of what could be a massive movement.
On Friday, 66 percent of contractors at Google contractor HCL America Inc. in Philadelphia announced they intended to unionize with the United Steel Workers, Vice reports. And seeing as temps and contractors outnumber Google's full-time employees, there could be big ramifications if the rest of the company's workforce decides to follow suit.
Google has long maintained a workforce of temporary and contracted workers, which outnumbered full-time workers 121,000 to 102,000 as of March, The New York Times reports. Yet volunteered salary information on Glassdoor shows the median salary of contractors and temps is $90,000 — $38,000 less than the median salary of full-time workers, Recode analysis showed in May. Google in 2018 listed its median global salary far higher at $246,804, but that only included full-time employees, and accounted for stock options and bonuses.
Google's so-called "shadow work force," meanwhile, isn't allotted those same benefits — something that organizers of Google's walkouts mentioned when endorsing Uber and Lyft driver protests earlier this year. HCL's 90 employees similarly "work side-by-side with those of the giant corporation for far less compensation and few, if any, of the perks," a press release said. So most of them signed cards Friday asking the National Labor Relations Board for a vote on union representation. If more of Google's temp and contract workforce does the same, it could pose a problem for the massively profitable waters Google is currently sailing. Kathryn Krawczyk