Leave it to Apple to bite the hand that feeds it. Well, not so much as bite as nibble a little. And not so much the hand that feeds Apple as the hands that feeds Google. So, in an indirect way, Apple is biting the hands that feed Google who feeds Apple.
Confused? Yeah, me, too. I have to sift through the money trail to see where it comes from and where it’s going. As of this week online advertisers have another bone to pick with Apple. Why? The company’s popular web browser– second in usage worldwide only to Google’s Chrome– has more anti-tracking capability built-in, and that’s exactly what advertisers don’t want to see in a browser.
Less ad tracking. Advertisers make their money by tracking browser users all over the interwebs. Surely you’ve noticed. Go to Google, or Amazon, or anything that lets you search for something, and, well, search for something. Search for multiple models, multiple brands, but just search. Over the next few days you’ll see advertisements pop up on websites you browse– for those very products you searched for days earlier.
You’re being stalked online by advertisers and a growing number of unscrupulous ad trackers. Apple is putting a stop to it. Or, at least, slowing it down a little with the newest Safari.
Liam Tung explains:
Safari accounts for a little under half of all mobile web traffic in North America and a quarter in Europe, according to StatCounter. And adoption of the newest version of iOS has historically been rapid compared with Android, so the impact of changes to how Safari handles cookies will be swift.
Yep, Apple leads the way for privacy and security. Yes, if you use Safari you’ll still be tracked by advertisers but not as much, but enough that the whole online ad industry got upset about it.
Six advertising groups published a letter Thursday asking Apple to “rethink” the technology, warning that it will “sabotage the economic model for the internet.” The argument boils down to this: If advertisers can’t personalize ads, then free services like Facebook and YouTube and Imgur will have to find some other way to make money to survive.
That’s bullshit, of course. Facebook and YouTube will survive, but with limited tracking capability, they won’t be able to gather as much information about your online search and browsing habits, which they don’t have a right to know anyway.
What Apple is doing in Safari is yet another layer of defense against advertisers and trackers, and it involves the time honored use of the cookie.
Browsers store and analyze these small text files to keep track of things like what items you’ve put in your e-commerce shopping cart, what your preferred language is and whether you’re logged into Gmail. Advertisers can use their own cookies to figure out, for example, that you looked up waffle iron prices or spend hours a week on a forum for coin collectors.
Limit the cookies and that limits the tracking. Anybody got a problem with that? Yes. Advertisers, and among them, Google is the largest. Google also pays Apple a few billion dollars a year to be the default search engine on Safari, so it might seem Apple is biting the hand that feeds it but it’s not.
Safari’s new anti-tracking method, combined with ad blockers and other anti-tracking utilities make for a much better browsing experience.
Its intelligent tracking-prevention technology makes it harder for ads to follow you around from one site to another and for advertisers to keep track of your browsing habits over the longer term. One part of the approach is deleting even first-party cookies if it’s been more than 30 days since you interacted with the website that set the cookie.
Check out our website, BohemianBoomer. There’s no cookie on the site. No ad trackers, either. Ads, yes, but they’re completely relevant to our readers, most of whom are Apple’s customers. Your IP address cannot be tracked by advertisers so when you visit BohemianBoomer or any of the Apple Villagers websites, you do so without tracking.
Enjoy the visit. It’s free and easy and free of trackers and tracking mechanisms. Oh, did you notice how fast web pages load in your browser?