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The path forward with the Privacy Sandbox

Google’s aim with the Privacy Sandbox is to improve web privacy for people around the world, while also giving publishers, creators and other developers the tools they need to build thriving businesses. This includes building new digital advertising tools, in collaboration with the wider industry, to replace third-party cookies with alternatives that better protect consumer…

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Google’s aim with the Privacy Sandbox is to improve web privacy for people around the world, while also giving publishers, creators and other developers the tools they need to build thriving businesses. This includes building new digital advertising tools, in collaboration with the wider industry, to replace third-party cookies with alternatives that better protect consumer privacy and preserve peoples’ access to free content online.

Since announcing the Privacy Sandbox we have been in open dialogue with the industry, consumer advocates and regulators to gather feedback on this initiative. Over the past year, we have also worked closely with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), including on a set of legally-binding commitments to address the CMA’s competition concerns over the Privacy Sandbox which will govern how we will design and implement this initiative. The aim, through this regulatory oversight and supervision, is to provide reassurance that the Privacy Sandbox will protect consumers and support a competitive ad-funded web, and not favor Google.

The commitments address these concerns through three main principles. First, the changes we will make in Chrome in the context of the Privacy Sandbox initiative will apply in the same way to Google’s advertising products as to products from other companies. Second, we will design, develop and implement Privacy Sandbox with regulatory oversight and input from the CMA and the ICO. And third, we will inform the CMA in advance of our intention to remove third-party cookies and agree to wait for their feedback on whether any competition law concerns remain.

Privacy by design and by default have been at the heart of the Privacy Sandbox from the outset, and we are also intent on ensuring that the new tools meet the requirements set out in the recent ICO’s Opinion on Data protection and privacy expectations for online advertising proposals. To that end, we are designing these new tools to avoid cross-site tracking, provide people with better transparency and control, and result in better outcomes for people and businesses on the web. We look forward to further engagement with data protection authorities as we continue to iterate and improve on the proposals.

We’re pleased that today the CMA has accepted these commitments, which now go into immediate effect. The development and implementation criteria that underpin these commitments are summarized below, and can be found in full on the CMA’s website. We will apply the commitments globally because we believe that they provide a roadmap for how to address both privacy and competition concerns in this evolving sector.

Respecting user privacy while maintaining a well functioning ad-funded web

Google’s objectives in developing the Privacy Sandbox proposals are to make the web more private and secure for people, while:

  1. Supporting the ability of publishers to generate revenue from advertising inventory and the ability of advertisers to secure value for money from advertising spend;
  2. Supporting a good user experience when navigating the web, including in relation to digital advertising;
  3. Providing users with substantial transparency and control in relation to their data as they browse the web; and
  4. Not distorting competition between Google’s own advertising products and services and those of other market participants.

We recognize that many publishers and advertisers rely on online advertising to fund their websites and reach new customers. So building tools which aim to improve people’s privacy, while continuing to support advertising, is key to keeping the web open and accessible to everyone and allowing businesses of all sizes to succeed.

Developing the Privacy Sandbox

To achieve the objectives above, Google is committing to designing, developing and implementing the Privacy Sandbox proposals taking into account specific criteria agreed with the CMA:

  1. The impact on privacy outcomes and compliance with privacy laws;
  2. The impact on competition in digital advertising between Google and other market participants, and, in particular, the risk of distortion to competition;
  3. The impact on publishers (including their ability to generate revenue from ad inventory) and advertisers;
  4. The impact on user experience (e.g. relevance of advertising and transparency over the use of personal data); and
  5. The technical feasibility, complexity and cost involved for Google.

Building on many months of open consultation by Google — and the CMA — with the wider industry, Google will be consulting with the CMA and ICO on a regular basis in relation to the design, development and implementation of the Privacy Sandbox (including testing and public announcements). Google will also increase its engagement with industry stakeholders (including publishers, advertisers and ad tech providers) by providing a systematic feedback process to take on board reasonable views and suggestions. This continues our previous engagement with web community members, who are encouraged to participate in the development and testing of the proposed new technologies through public discussion forums like the W3C, developer channels such as GitHub, industry groups and origin trials. We will also establish a dedicated microsite, available from privacysandbox.com, explaining these channels in more detail and offering a new feedback form to submit suggested use cases and API feature requests, by the end of February 2022.

Ensuring compliance

Google will work with the CMA to resolve concerns without delay and consult and update the CMA and the ICO on an ongoing basis. Google has also committed to appoint an independent Monitoring Trustee who will have the access and technical expertise needed to ensure compliance, having consulted with the CMA. The Monitoring Trustee will work directly with the CMA, and will be central in ensuring compliance with the data and non-discrimination commitments offered by Google.

We believe that these commitments will ensure that competition continues to thrive while providing flexibility in designing the Privacy Sandbox APIs in a way that will improve peoples’ privacy online. Helping businesses adapt to a privacy-safe web, through invention and collaboration, can help provide the foundation for long-term economic sustainability and growth.

This process requires close engagement with competition and privacy regulators and new ways of working together. We hope these commitments can contribute to that new framework.

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Survey shows how people decide what to trust online

Alex Mahadevan is director of MediaWise at the Poynter Institute. He has taught digital media literacy to thousands of middle and high schoolers, and has trained hundreds of journalists from around the world in verification and digital investigative tools. We caught up with Alex to find out about a recent information literacy survey his organization…

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Alex Mahadevan is director of MediaWise at the Poynter Institute. He has taught digital media literacy to thousands of middle and high schoolers, and has trained hundreds of journalists from around the world in verification and digital investigative tools. We caught up with Alex to find out about a recent information literacy survey his organization conducted in partnership with YouGov, with support from Google. Learn more about how Google is working on information literacy and helping you spot misinformation online.

Why was this survey conducted?

Misinformation isn’t a new problem, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction, especially on the internet. We wanted to learn more about how people across generational lines verify information and decide what to trust and share online. And we knew this research would help us expand on the educational resources MediaWise has to offer.

What were the parameters for the survey?

We surveyed more than 8,500 respondents of various ages in the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, Nigeria, India and Japan. We asked a wide range of questions aimed at assessing information literacy skills and verification habits. Those include queries about everything from the tools and techniques someone uses to investigate a post they see online, to the reasons why they may have shared misleading information in the past.

What are some of the biggest takeaways?

The survey found that 62% of respondents think they see false or misleading information on at least a weekly basis – that’s a staggering number. And people are aware that it’s a serious issue. Roughly 50% of all Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z respondents (these are people ages 18 to 57) said they’re concerned about their family being exposed to it.

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New ways we’re helping you find high-quality information

AI models are also helping our systems understand when a featured snippet might not be the most helpful way to present information. This is particularly helpful for questions where there is no answer: for example, a recent search for “when did snoopy assassinate Abraham Lincoln” provided a snippet highlighting an accurate date and information about…

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AI models are also helping our systems understand when a featured snippet might not be the most helpful way to present information. This is particularly helpful for questions where there is no answer: for example, a recent search for “when did snoopy assassinate Abraham Lincoln” provided a snippet highlighting an accurate date and information about Lincoln’s assassination, but this clearly isn’t the most helpful way to display this result.

We’ve trained our systems to get better at detecting these sorts of false premises, which are not very common, but are cases where it’s not helpful to show a featured snippet. We’ve reduced the triggering of featured snippets in these cases by 40% with this update.

Information literacy

Beyond designing our systems to return high-quality information, we also build information literacy features in Google Search that help people evaluate information, whether they found it on social media or in conversations with family or friends. In fact, in a study this year, researchers found that people regularly use Google as a tool to validate information encountered on other platforms. We’ve invested in building a growing range of information literacy features — including Fact Check Explorer, Reverse image search, and About this result — and today, we’re announcing several updates to make these features even more helpful.

Expanding About this result to more places

About this result helps you see more context about any Search result before you ever visit a web page, just by tapping the three dots next to the result. Since launching last year, people have used About this result more than 2.4 billion times, and we’re bringing it to even more people and places – with eight more languages including Portuguese (PT), French (FR), Italian (IT), German (DE), Dutch (NL), Spanish (ES), Japanese (JP) and Indonesian (ID), coming later this year.

This week, we’re adding more context to About this result, such as how widely a source is circulated, online reviews about a source or company, whether a company is owned by another entity, or even when our systems can’t find much info about a source – all pieces of information that can provide important context.

And we’ve now launched About this page in the Google app, so you can get helpful context about websites as you’re browsing the web. Just swipe up from the navigation bar on any page to get more information about the source – helping you explore with confidence, no matter where you are online.

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Finding community and customers through Growth Academy: Women Founders

With thousands of highly-valued tech companies, a global-first market approach, and a strong economy dominated by entrepreneurship, it’s clear why Israel’s nickname is ‘The Startup Nation.’However, this thriving startup ecosystem isn’t equally supportive of all aspiring founders. According to the latest Israeli Tech Gender Distribution Report, spearheaded by Google for Startups and IVC Data and…

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With thousands of highly-valued tech companies, a global-first market approach, and a strong economy dominated by entrepreneurship, it’s clear why Israel’s nickname is ‘The Startup Nation.’

However, this thriving startup ecosystem isn’t equally supportive of all aspiring founders. According to the latest Israeli Tech Gender Distribution Report, spearheaded by Google for Startups and IVC Data and Insights, only 2% of startups with a woman founder raised above $50 million between 2018 and 2021. While the number of entirely women-led companies has doubled in the past decade, they still only comprise 6.3% of Israeli startups — and only 13.9% of startups had at least one woman co-founder in a mixed-gender founding team.

I fall into the latter category. My cofounder Gal Benbeniste and I met during college, where we bonded over how outdated the investment world is. What started with trying to figure out a simple way to automate became FinityX, a deep-tech startup that helps investors implement AI tools as part of their investment process to save time and resources, and improve quality.

While I have been humbled by FinityX’s rapid growth and recognition, as one of the very few women in the deep-tech space I’ve always wanted to be able to access the same capital, business networks, and mentorship readily available to my male cofounder.

So I was thrilled when Google for Startups launched a Growth Academy program tailored specifically for the needs of early-stage women founders. Based on the successful Startup Growth Lab curriculum, the program includes leadership workshops with Israeli VCs such as Entree Capital, Ibex and Viola, leadership sessions with top industry lecturers, and one-on-one Google product mentorship. “Ever since Google for Startups opened Campus Tel Aviv in 2012, diversity and inclusion has been an essential focus to our work,” said Marta Mozes, marketing manager of Google for Startups in Israel. “When we discovered this data about female founders in Israel, we knew we had to be part of the change.”

Meet the other Israeli entrepreneurs, representing industries from family vacation-planning to finance, who joined me at Google for Startups Growth Academy: Women Founders:

  • Miri Berger, Cofounder & CEO of 6Degrees
  • Kerri Kariti, Cofounder & CPO of Claritee
  • Vardit Legali, Cofounder & CEO of Clawdia
  • Ronny Schwartz Dgani, Cofounder & CMO of Expecting.ai
  • Inbal Glantser and Naama Yacobson, Cofounders of Homaze
  • Tamar Liberman, Tal Provizor Narkiss, and Lee Winfield, Cofounders of It’s July
  • Mika Kayt, Founder & CEO of Outgage
  • Danielle Shpigel and Yarden Kaufmann, Cofounders of Unika

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