As of this summer, though, Sift does have a file on you, which it can produce upon request. I got mine, and I found it shocking: More than 400 pages long, it contained all the messages I’d ever sent to hosts on Airbnb; years of Yelp delivery orders; a log of every time I’d opened the Coinbase app on my iPhone. Many entries included detailed information about the device I used to do these things, including my IP address at the time. Sift knew, for example, that I’d used my iPhone to order chicken tikka masala, vegetable samosas and garlic naan on a Saturday night in April three years ago. It knew I used my Apple laptop to sign into Coinbase in January 2017 to change my password. Sift knew about a nightmare Thanksgiving I had in California’s wine country, as captured in my messages to the Airbnb host of a rental called “Cloud 9.”Apple:
Background tracking notifications: iPhone owners now get notifications when apps are using their location in the background, providing them with a chance to turn this feature off.Keach Hagey & Vivien Ngo:
One point of tension for publishers: Google’s own properties, along with those of Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., are competing with them for digital ad spending—and winning. Collectively, the tech giants will take in 68% of the roughly $130 billion in U.S. digital ad spending this year, according to eMarketer. Overall, Google made $116 billion in advertising revenue last year, a 22% rise from the previous year and 85% of the company’s total revenue. Most of that ad revenue came from Google’s own properties, but the company’s vast role in brokering online ad sales off its own platforms gives it an added level of dominance. Google has, at times, provided incentives to use its products in tandem. A few years ago, Google waived certain fees for DoubleClick for Publishers if an ad sale was made through its AdX exchange, according to a contract reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Last year, Google merged those two products—DoubleClick for Publishers and AdX—into a single product called Google Ad Manager, making it plain to the industry that they are indeed linked, ad and publishing executives say. Also in 2016, Google began allowing data it gathered from services like Gmail and Google maps, such as users’ locations and email addresses, to be used in DoubleClick’s ad-targeting system—but only for customers of its ad-buying tool DV360. Google said it anonymizes and aggregates this data into audience segments, and stopped using Gmail data for ad personalization in 2017. Rival ad-buying companies say when they asked to access the data, Google refused, citing privacy concerns. “We offered to sign a privacy assurance, and they said no,” Rajeev Goel, chief executive of rival ad-tech firm PubMatic Inc., said.