Android’s Privacy Sandbox has been in development since it was announced in February this year. This is a multi-year initiative to introduce more private advertising solutions to end users and is made possible through both the Topics API and FLEDGE. The goal is to maintain user privacy by default while supporting the mobile ecosystem that relies on effective advertising to support free and ad-supported apps. It’s a unique approach to Android with a new SDK isolated from the rest of the app’s code, and its goal is to eventually replace Ad ID. The latest Developer Preview is now available, and it adds data validation improvements and API signing changes across the privacy-preserving APIs and Runtime SDK.
Privacy Sandbox Developer Preview 5 is really just an update for developers to test the Privacy Sandbox and give Google more feedback. Feedback given over the past few months, Google says, has led to real changes, including allowing use of the Reflection API. Additional design proposals have also been released on FLEDGE Services, Mediation and Application-to-Web Measurement, based on developer feedback. Some changes to FLEDGE require developers to make changes to their code, which are described in the release notes.
If you want to start testing Privacy Sandbox as a developer, you can check out the official instructions for setting up the SDK and downloading system images to Android Virtual Device Emulator or supported Pixel devices. There’s still a beta expected to arrive by the end of the year, with 2023 expected to see the start of full-scale testing. These previews and betas are independent of the Android 13 release cadence and have been tested separately over the past few months. The final version will also have user-oriented controls in the settings app.
New features in Privacy Sandbox include cross-app and web measurement in the Attribution Reporting API and an updated taxonomy for mobile app classification in the Topics API. There are also additional restrictions and limitations in the FLEDGE API on Android that developers will need to consider.
If you’re a developer, be sure to check out the official release notes and the Developer Preview 5 announcement blog post. Both contain vital information for Privacy Sandbox SDK support and what changes you’ll need to make. maybe bring to integrate support for Privacy Sandbox.