When Apple triggered the beginning of the IDFA Apocalypse at WWDC in 2020, it was clear to anyone paying attention that it would be only a matter of time before Google brought something similar to Android.

This week, we found out what that 'something' would be: Privacy Sandbox on Android (yes, that appears to be the official name, and yes, I also think it sounds a bit contrived…but I'll explain the reason for that in a moment).

You've probably already heard something about Privacy Sandbox over the last few days, but I'd understand if you hadn't: to borrow a meme from last year's popular Loki miniseries, if the iOS 14 privacy changes were a nexus event that went straight for the red line (multiversal chaos — we all remember the disruption that came after iOS 14, because we're still living through it today), then Privacy Sandbox is a variant that has already been successfully pruned.

The main subject of today's newsletter will be getting you up to speed on what Privacy Sandbox is, how Google's announcement has been received so far across the ecosystem, and what it means for the future of the mobile industry.

Let's get started!

Alex Bauer


First of all, the reason for the somewhat contrived name (Privacy Sandbox on Android) is that there is already a web version of Privacy Sandbox, introduced way back in August of 2019.

The Android version of Privacy Sandbox consists of four design proposals, which are a good (if semi-technical) read. You can find them here.

The responses so far have fallen broadly into four different categories:

  1. Mainstream media, like the NY Times, which all pretty much just riffed on Google's announcement blog post.
  2. Misinformed mainstream media counter-takes, which tried to spin up a narrative around how Google was delivering a second, ATT-esque 'body blow' (or some equivalently violent metaphor) to Facebook.
  3. Privacy zealots, who have a reputation to maintain and feel the Privacy Sandbox proposals don't go nearly far enough.
  4. Industry analyses, which generally seem to agree that Privacy Sandbox on Android is a genuinely good collection of proposals that deserves serious discussion.

Interesting Reads

Industry Buzz

Walled Gardens



The Encore



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