The latest version of the Chrome extension launched by Google gives a lot of in-depth information related to ads. By looking at the same, one can get an idea of how they can fall prey to advertisers. Known as “Ads Transparency Spotlight (Alpha),” one can witness the number of ads loading on a page, the details of advertisers along with the ad-tech companies. One can also find out details regarding personal data, including demographics, re-marketing, interests, location, and many other details that can be used to help these advertisements.
Chrome web store contains a description that has been provided by Google which reads as “Our new Ads Transparency Spotlight (Alpha) extension for Chrome is part of our ongoing initiative to give people more visibility into the data used to personalize ads and more control over that data.”Source
Google has also stated that this initial version would display information about only those Google-based ads that have exercised Google’s Ad Disclosure Schema. As of now, information or data regarding third-party ads cannot be viewed. Google’s Github page states that this type of schema has been created so advertisers can notify users how their personal information is being used. Google hopes that “the [rest of] the industry will incorporate the Ad Disclosure Schema into their ads.”
The extension may likely behave differently outside of the US. For instance, in Europe, people were able to view who the advertisers are and the number of ads. However, they could not witness any data that provided any details related to their personal information.
Google has developed this extension as a part of its initiative to throw some light on the work carried out by these advertisers. It could also be a method to turn away those advertising agencies who violate the EU’s GDPR laws. Parallelly, Google is trying to do away with the wild west ad system that exists by gradually cutting-off third-party cookies and bringing in the latest features like ad-blocking tech that removes notorious ads and allowing good ones to pass through. Simultaneously, it has made a few changes to Chrome such that ad-blockers would not be able to block all the ads, thereby, providing help to those enterprises that rely solely on advertising.
There are no doubts that the latest Chrome extension is indeed helpful. However, browsers like Ghostery seem to provide more precise and detailed information about ad-trackers, ads, and a lot more information, apart from giving the user the flexibility to stop them from popping. Then there is also the Brave Browser, which provides ad information and can also block them. The user also gets access to more browser options where his browsing data history is not stored.