Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Archive for May, 2018

Google Launches .app Top-Level Domain

I completely understand the arguments for giant internet companies having their own top-level domains, but it seems like a disaster waiting to happen for them to own generic domains as well. Chrome is the world’s most popular web browser; as Ben Sargent points out, it seems like only a matter of time before they could launch a TLD that only works with Chrome. Or Google could own a TLD that forces websites to carry tracking scripts.

It may be hard to understand today why Google could take these actions. But we should be more cognizant of handing control of whole sections of the web over to for-profit companies, especially those that are behavioural advertising companies.

Update: A better example of something Google might do is rank .app addresses higher in search, like they do for AMP websites.

Publisher Groups Rebuke Google’s Interpretation of E.U. Privacy Law

Paresh Dave, Reuters:

As part of its plans for GDPR, Google would offload to publishers the burden of getting user consent for the data collection that is at the core of how Google’s ad-serving business operates.

The company has also irked publishers by saying that rather than being a “processor” of data as defined by GDPR, it wants to be a “controller,” giving it more ability to use information such as reader data for its own purposes.

“Your proposal severely falls short on many levels,” publisher groups wrote to Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai, adding that it “would undermine the fundamental purposes of the GDPR and the efforts of publishers to comply with the letter and spirit of the law.”

One big reason why Google is able to demand terms like these from publishers is that they’re the web’s largest ad network. Of course, they wouldn’t be if so many websites — including the sites of the publishers who signed this letter in the first place — opted to use more diverse ad networks, or rolled their own.

The web has opted into an advertising duopoly, with Google and Facebook, and is now expecting two of the biggest companies on the planet to treat them fairly. I’m not saying anyone deserves this, but there is a shared responsibility between ad networks and websites, and different choices should have been made.