Google introduces Chrome extension for more transparent online ads

The extension called Ads Transparency Spotlight provides data on advertising platforms, advertisements and other parties involved in a website. In future, it will also display personal data used for the selection of advertisements. So far, the extension only works with Google’s own ads.

Google offers a new extension for his browser Chrome that provides users with details about the ads on a website. Among other things, the extensions should make transparent which user data was used to personalize an advertisement.

At the start, the extension called Ads Transparency Spotlight is available in an alpha version. According to Google, it should convey to users how ads are served. So far, some of the data the extension provides has been accessed through the “Why do I see this ad” link that Google integrates into its own ads.

Ads Transparency Spotlight (screenshot: ZDNet.de)The extension receives your data via a new programming interface called Ad Disclosure Schema. This allows advertisers to disclose information about how their ads work. However, only Google currently uses this option.

After installation via the Chrome Web Store, Ads Transparency Spotlight provides information about the number of ads on a website and the advertising platforms that deliver these ads. In addition, users can view a list of companies that are involved in the provision of the website in question – including in the area of ​​analytics. This list also gives access to the data protection declaration of the respective company, if available.

In the future, however, the extension will also display data according to which online advertising has been selected. Google cites demographic data such as age and gender, visits to certain other websites or the location of the user as examples.

The extension is part of a larger initiative to help Google overtake the ad ecosystem and regain user trust. Among other things, Chrome is gradually phasing out support for third-party cookies that allow advertisers to track users across pages and provide them with ads.

In addition, Chrome now offers its own ad blocker, which, however, only suppresses certain ads that Google considers to be annoying. A privacy sandbox is also planned, which should allow Chrome to provide just enough information about users that advertisers can divide them into groups – they should not be enough to create individual profiles.

Part of the initiative is also the Trust Token API, which will replace third-party cookies in the future. The main goal is to provide a useful function of third-party cookies: Website owners need access to certain cross-page data in order to determine whether a visitor is a real person or a bot. However, the programming interface is still under development.


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