After Google, Amazon, Apple and others, Microsoft is set to join the custom tracking technology bandwagon in a bid to replace the ‘stale’ and the ubiquitous cookie, which has attracted a lot of negative attention in the last couple of years.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Microsoft is currently developing a tracking technology capable of tracking users across all forms of computing devices including desktops, tablets, smartphones, Xbox gaming console and software & services including internet explorer and Bing search engine.
Google’s plans of an AdID came to the forefront less than a month ago and there have been reports that Apple, Amazon and Facebook are also working on their own tracking technologies. Cookies have been the primary basis for tracking users and their behavior across the web and they have been the foundation on which targeted advertising empire was built.
However, in recent years, third-party cookies have not only come under fire from government organizations and privacy watchdogs, but have also attracted attention of non-profits like Mozilla, which has been campaigning against the use of tracking cookies and is proposing handing over the control of such cookies to users.
Further, as use of mobile devices has sprawled over the last couple of years, cookies have proved to be useless for not able to track such users prompting organizations to seek alternatives. Cookies are also proving to be incompetent in TV and web-delivered video services as they are not able to effectively track users in such environments either.
According to sources, Microsoft’s tracking technology is in its infancy and there is no fixed timeline for its public rollout. Like Google’s AdID, Microsoft’s tracking technology will be using some form of identifier and consumers will be in total control. They can give permission of using it for advertising purpose either through opting for such an arrangement via Terms of Service or EULA or some other means.
If such is the arrangement then it would be Microsoft that will be entirely responsible for users’ data and privacy as compared to multiple parties in case of third-party cookie based tracking because it will be Microsoft which will be having access to the identifier.
Federal and government agencies like the FTC will have to stop worrying about thousands of companies which track user behavior and will have to concentrate on select few if proprietary tracking technologies are put into place. Such agencies may even seek standardization making their jobs much easier.
With positives there will always be negatives and chances are that these companies may be able to see data generated by advertisers and third-party agencies and may even restrict use of such generated data onto their own services thereby funneling more and more ad revenues their way.