Google wants to start tracking 300 million iPhone users

Google wants to start tracking 300 million iPhone users

Suddenly all becomes clear. The punchy Apple ads that emerged a few weeks ago with a not-so-subtle warning to avoid Google Chrome. This is part of something bigger, something more serious, with 300 million iPhone users caught in the middle.

Google wants iPhone users to switch from Apple’s apps to its own, bringing those users further inside its data machine on a daily basis. If you switch to Chrome as your default browser, then one way or another you’ll be tracked. That’s how it works.

Google has reportedly set itself a target—to grow the share of iPhone searches using its own apps from the current 30% to 50%. Applying an overly simplistic calculation, that equates to around 700 million of the 1.4 billion iPhones regularly using Google’s own apps—largely Chrome—for search instead of Safari. Install Chrome on your iPhone and you’ll see it push you to make it the default. Google needs almost 300 million more iPhone users to adopt Chrome over Safari to make this work.

Those Safari Vs Chrome ads and Apple’s messaging are interesting for a number of reasons. The mixed-up relationship between the two mobile ecosystem giants. Apple warning about Chrome and Google pushing Apple into RCS, the on/off Gemini affair with iOS 18. But above all—because this is about browsers—that Google pays Apple billions for the default search spot on Safari, with both reaping the collective spoils.

So, is Safari really any better than when it comes tracking than Chrome. In short—yes. Google’s business model relies on tracking and collating user data to shape and sell advertising. And while Apple clearly reaps the benefits—from its revenue share with Google as much as anything else, Safari better protects your privacy than Chrome, especially when it comes to user fingerprinting and third-party tracking.

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