Safari Trails Browser Operators; Amazon Slapped With Record GDPR Fine

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Just Browsing

The only browser operators with the resources and potential building blocks to compete with Google Chrome are Microsoft Edge (which is built on Chrome’s open-source code) and Apple’s Safari WebKit. So really that just leaves Safari. And Apple has given up on the security and feature upgrade cycle, according to a blog post by Tim Perry, creator of the site-debugging software HTTP Toolkit. Ten years ago, Safari led the way on features. Now it’s a laggard. Chrome, Edge, Vivaldi, Brave and Firefox each has an upgrade cycle ranging between three and six weeks. Safari is on a six-month cycle. Sites with more involved graphics or user experiences already suggest to Safari visitors that they open another browser. And for many seemingly niche use cases – HR software, bluetooth integrations, chat app plug-ins, an online whiteboard tool, music composition software, etc. – the popular software requires a Chromium browser, because WebKit hasn’t shipped the upgrades they need. “Once they switch for one thing, it significantly increases the chance they switch for everything,” Perry said.

Amazon Feeling Fine

Amazon may have pulled in record ad revenues in Q2, but it also took a record-breaking $887 million fine (746 million euros) for GDPR privacy violations stemming from the advertising services business, Reuters reports. The decision came from Luxembourg’s data protection agency, the CNPD, since Amazon’s European headquarters is in the country. The previous record fine came in December 2020, when France’s data privacy regulator, the CNIL, tagged Google for more than $100 million (100 million euros). Along with the fine, Amazon is ordered to revise certain business practices, according to the court filing, though the specific Amazon advertising infraction is unnamed. Amazon said the case has no merit and will appeal the decision to a higher European court. 

What The FLoC?

Google wrapped the first phase of testing for its proposed federated learning of cohorts (FLoC) Privacy Sandbox proposal earlier this month. FLoCs are cohorts of web users with similar browsing patterns and tastes, which is a potential way to target and measure without exposing individuals’ identity data. Criteo published some of its takeaways from the initial FLoC trials, and the results are … not encouraging. For one thing, only 0.02% of Chrome users are in the test cohorts, and that traffic is not representative of consumers across the web; it’s a specific crowd of Chrome beta users and developers. And the number of users per cohort isn’t large enough yet to support analytics. Right now, the Russian browser Yandex supports FLoC and accounts for an outsized share of traffic – to the point that Criteo must set aside Yandex-based FLoC IDs to not distort its report. Chrome’s dilemma here is that it needs a critical mass even to test FLoC, and it’s not close to being at that point. 

But Wait, There’s More!  

Pinterest’s monthly active users dropped 5% to 454 million, but revenue was up 125%. [CNBC]

Ad tech companies are stepping up their efforts to reach gamers. [Digiday]

Accenture acquires Italian ecommerce agency Openmind. [release]

Etsy is leaning into CTV. [The Drum]

Microsoft is “primary antagonist” in DOJ antitrust case, says Google lawyer. [The Information]

It’s not just Big Tech. French newspaper publisher fined in GDPR case. [MediaPost]

You’re Hired

Ecommerce agency Making Science names Nicola Clark US VP. [release]

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1 Comment

  1. Alexander Paluch

    Hi, Just wondering how you know the AMZ GDPR fine is about its advertising services? I couldn’t find anything in the Reuters or Amazon statement. Thanks!