One of the major themes of the Facebook F8 developer conference and the Google of the week is confidentiality. The location is a sensitive and central element of the broader discussion on privacy protection. Survey data have repeatedly shown that users are concerned about who has access to their location data and want more control over it.
Historically, Android offers developers broad access to the device's location and offers less transparency control for users than the iPhone (although it there was a backpedaling by Apple). But with the forthcoming Android Q, smartphone owners will soon have much more control over location permissions . (There are a ton of new features in the operating system update, which I will not discuss here.)
What's changing for the users. At the most basic level, Google helps users find privacy controls by tapping the profile photo in the top right corner of various Google products (search, Google Maps, etc.). Google explained that "you will soon be able to view and delete your geo activity data directly in Google Maps".
There will also be a function to automatically delete the location history. You will be able to tell Google if you want your data to be kept for three months or up to 18 months (we do not know if there will be other choices). And Google Maps will go into incognito mode, which means that the location of users will not be tracked or saved for the places visited. It is not clear how this could affect ad targeting or analytics.
With Android Q, an option allows you to share the location only when the application is being used, such as on the iPhone . When users leave the application location, background execution does not continue. Other location permissions will be "All the time" and "Deny":
"All the time" – This means that an application can access the site at any time "Ongoing d & # 39; use ". This means that an application can access the location only while the "Deny" is being used – it means that an application can not access the location
Android Q will also call back users that the location is running in the background if "always allow" was the initial choice of user settings. This feature previously existed on the iPhone but has been removed, apparently as a result of developer complaints.
What application editors should know. During a developer session on Android Q's location functions, Google has recommended and recommends the following to obtain location permissions:
Any use by an app or developer the location will require an authorization. Do not use or ask for location if the application does not allow it. Do not ask for the required authorization for the application to work (argument against "always"). Ask the location in context, so that the user understands why he is asked. If you need a permanent location, start with "in use" then "all the time".
Why we should care Google is tightening access to third-party data, making it more difficult for publishers and developers to easily capture the location in the background. Applications will still be able to get the location to work, but users will probably default to "in use" or "deny". No more binary approach "all or nothing" of Android.
This probably means that less applications will be able to access the location of the user as a whole. It also means that fewer applications will have a background location and will be able to monetize it in the wider ecosystem (ie by selling it). From an advertiser's perspective, this will affect location-based ad targeting opportunities across the entire ecosystem of apps. These changes will likely also have an impact on CPMs that developers and publishers are able to obtain – location-based advertising requests pay more than those that do not.
] Greg Sterling is a collaborative editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk on the links between digital media and consumer behavior in the real world. He is also Vice President of Strategy and Knowledge for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him on Google+ .