The problem with privacy is, well the lack of it. But not in the sense we've been told.
There has been all the noise about privacy that even the mobile app world was not spared.
Privacy on an Android device
We now have the Android advertising ID that mobile ad networks must use. I just checked the setting on my device, and the opt-out is unchecked. If this is the default setting, then we know that most users are not going to turn this on. Neither will most users reset their ad ID every now and then. Its a good thing I guess.
Submitting the list of apps that a user has on his/her device(s) is also a big No-no now.
On the bigger picture, in my opinion, worrying about some basic simple stuff is really hindering our progress.
My simple search and wasted opportunities
Back in November 2014, I was searching up about a self help / motivation book online. Google linked my searches to my account somehow.
And ever since I did that search for that particular book, I've been getting AdSense ads of that same book. Both on the mobile and the PC.
Here is the problem. I have already purchased and read the book within days of first searching it, but, now about 3 months later, I still get the damn ad!
If Google had a way to figure out that I had already purchased the book, they could have used this great opportunity to advertise other related books.
Note to Google : Google should just drop search history once it passes a certain amount of time, and start showing related ads instead.
And bad advertising on mobile apps too
Now, this drawback happens on the app world too. How often do you see ads for Clash of Clans or of Candy Crush? Or any of the other advertised games? Even if you already had that game?
How great would it be if when you launched Google Play, Google does not show you apps and games that you already have?
Its an awesome opportunity for Google to use to get better app discovery for developers. But hey! There is big money for Google from the CoC and CC games. IAP is massive here.
Money for their investment
I guess that's fair on Google's part as they have an interest here in their own platform too. Which business doesn't want to maximize revenues?
Still, an exposure to more great games that have great IAP implementation is still going to benefit the big G.
Mobile app discovery IS improving on Android
Anyhow, app discovery is improving on Google Play. Recommendations and the multiple sub-categories have helped quite a bit. (Some say the subcategories have hurt their app performance though).
Its just that the big debate over privacy has indeed seeped into the smaller, nontrivial parts of our online experience, that we are not moving forward at a pace that we should.
And what a wasted opportunity that is.