Hello Digital looks at the highlights from the week that was.

From Google announcing plans to stop tracking users in Chrome, Bing dramatically updating their Search interface and updates to Google My Business insights, it’s been another big week in digital, and digital advertising in particular. 

Keep reading for the latest in digital news…


Google will stop tracking users in Chrome to sell ads

Google has announced that it won’t build or use alternative identifiers to track users across the web once third-party cookies are phased out. We have known about the phasing out of third-party cookies for some time, however many believed that Google would create a replacement that would ensure greater user security. 

However, in their announcement on Wednesday, they stated:

“Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.”

This threatens to change the way that the online advertising industry operates in a big way, with user data being one of the most valuable resources to advertisers. 

Third-party cookies are snippets of code that are used by a website’s advertisers to record the browsing history of visitors. This data is then used to deliver more targeted and personalised ads to users. While it has definitely benefited advertisers, the use of third-party cookies has caused many to feel that their privacy and personal data is at risk. This is the reason that Google is using for removing the capabilities from Chrome. 

They have instead proposed grouping together web users with similar interests and then keeping web histories private on user devices. The solution will include powering their web products by privacy-preserving APIs, which they have stated will prevent individual tracking but still deliver results for advertisers and publishers. This may mean that other providers begin to offer user identity for ad tracking across the web, such as PII graphs based on people’s email addresses, but Google has made clear their assertion that they won’t “stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions”. 

You can read Google’s full announcement here.


There’s a gaping hole in the data loss prevention market

According to TechCrunch, data has become the world’s most valuable and vulnerable resources in the world. The rise of “big data” throughout the past few years has also driven substantial growth in the cyber market. This is because the biggest threat to this new resource is security. 

They predict that cyber security will be big business this year and in the years to come. Their forecasts suggest cyber will grow by $100 billion of new market value by 2025 alone, which puts the total market size close to $280 billion.

The rapid rise of the cyber market has come about by necessity, with the threat to data bigger than ever before. In 2020, malicious code in one update of a trusted software provider enabled hackers to access petabytes of private data across 18,000 organisations in the U.S., including Fortune 500s and government entities. To give you some perspective, 1 petabyte equals 1 million gigabytes. 

These data breaches have been increasing around the world and it has led to a rise in demand for cybersecurity – for the single web user, all the way through to government organisations. 


Google My Business report now show how people found your business

Google My Business users can now see new data in their performance reports to show how people came to view their business profile. The upgrade from the Insights report shows if visitors came from desktop or mobile and either Google Search or Google Maps, which can help businesses better understand customer behaviour. 

Users will be able to access the report through the Insights tab within their account, in the section that shows “how people discovered you”. This gives business owners more insight into how customers and users find out about their business and the more insights and analytics you can get from Google, the more informed you can be when helping customers, closing new deals and making more revenue.

Google outline how to use the new feature here


Microsoft Bing updates their search results interface, making it more visually immersive

With the ongoing struggle between government and Google, competitors are starting to ramp up and position themselves as viable alternatives. The best contender, Microsoft’s Bing, has announced several updates to make the search experience more “visually immersive,” the company has said. 

Search Engine Land did a deep dive into the new features, with additions like infographic-like search panels, local answers showing more information, expandable search carousels, recipe results with more information, and similar looking items image search feature. 

While users have been exploring the new features, Search Engine Land pointed out that with any upgrade or change to search, it may impact how much traffic websites may get from that search engine for some queries. It will be interesting to see if this impacts website traffic in a positive or negative way. Keep in mind as well to use structured data where it makes sense to potentially increase the likelihood of showing up in these new visual search results.