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Advertising May Soon Follow You From One Device To the Next 132

moon_unit2 writes "We're all familiar with ads that seem to follow you around as you go from one website to another. A startup called Drawbridge has developed technology that could let those ads follow you even when you pick up a smartphone or tablet. The company, founded by an ex-Google scientist, employs statistical methods to try to match and identify users on different devices. The idea is that this will preserve privacy while making mobile ads more lucrative, although some experts aren't convinced that the data will be truly anonymous."
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Advertising May Soon Follow You From One Device To the Next

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I make an effort to avoid buying products that im bombarded with as much as possible , so im turning their advertising around,

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You must be an exception, otherwise how would you explain the huge popularity of Apple products at every release?

    • by cdxta ( 1170917 )
      Same here, all ads make me think is that a portion of my purchase price is going towards the ad instead of a better product. I tells me that their product does not have enough merit on its own that they have to advertize it to you instead of informed buyers choosing their product based on its ability alone.
      • The current plan for most advertising is to raise brand awareness. So, when you see two competing products you pick the one that feels most comfortable and familiar, because you've seen the brand before. I make a conscious point of avoiding products that seem more attractive for a reason I can't consciously bring to mind, but not enough people do for this to work as a strategy.
  • Got root?

    • Does it matter? I'm logged in to google almost 24/7 on all devices. I think Google has a pretty good idea its me when serving up its ads. Almost all tech ads, very few video games, pharmecutical or fashion products.

      • I stopped using Google services long time ago for that same reason. Used to be a huge fanboy... and I mean I used everything - email, docs, blogger, maps, adwords, adsense, freaking shopping site, everything. Now the only one I have left is Gmail, to make sure nobody steals whatever accounts I haven't moved off of it yet.

      • If you're staying logged in on google services across several devices, then it clearly doesn't matter to you. You don't mind being tracked.

        I avoid it on my phone by using Cyanogenmod (so I can selectively allow and deny specific access types to specific applications) and using a firewall so that google and other advertisers can't be reached. Pretty much the same way I do it on my laptop, desktop, and servers.

        • I'm just saying that the system being devised by this ex google engineer isn't really that spooky for most people ( who I think are like me) that already don't mind being tracked. I mean its kind of scary,but I think I'm adjusting to a world where real privacy as we used to think of it doesn't really exist. Between google and amazon, they know where I go, do, see and what I buy. So far those companies have done a good job not sharing that in a publically accesible way. Facebook, on the other hand, has in th

  • good call (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Thursday December 06, 2012 @07:10PM (#42210065)

    some experts aren't convinced that the data will be truly anonymous

    You don't say? In particular, note the complete lack of incentives for the company to actually care how good its anonymizing is.

    • by davecb ( 6526 )
      This is a classic disambiguation effort, like figuring out that there is only one family in a postal code with children, and therefor associating my ad-tracking with them in particular. And then selling that information to other vendors.
  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @07:20PM (#42210155) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:

    Drawbridge works by looking at the cookie data that comes with a request from a mobile or desktop browser or app to an ad exchange, and using its “bridging” algorithm to assess the probability that any two arbitrary cookies from different devices are associated with the same person. The Web cookies that Drawbridge uses [allegedly] contain anonymous, relatively benign information, such as the browser client, the site accessed, and a time stamp. Unlike a method known as device fingerprinting, Drawbridge doesn't rely on technologies that directly track user activity, or report geolocation or other invasive device identifiers... Once they reach a threshold of certainty that two cookies represent the same person, they call it a match.

    Here's hoping my own browsing habits don't match too closely with any person the government has decided to put on its "disposition matrix..."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just this morning, at breakfast as I stared over the paper at the wife, I said; I really wish that DVRs would listen in on us and watch us and feed us "contextually accurate" ads.

    She responded; it would be even better if the ads followed us from device to device, jump form the TV to your phone and then onto the tablet when you got to work.

    I mused; that would truly be a great world.

  • Even more invasive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @07:23PM (#42210197)
    In their continuing quest to impose their marketing scum on every aspect and moment of your life, they are now taking yet another step in their bid to become omnipresent and unavoidable.

    It's getting to the point where these marketing invasions need to have serious and painful repercussions to those creating or employing them.
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Why? hmm? Don't use the products that use advertising. Otherwise deal with the way people get paid for the stuff you use.

      • Why? hmm? Don't use the products that use advertising. Otherwise deal with the way people get paid for the stuff you use.

        No, I'll just block all the ads instead.

        If people want me to pay them, they can charge me money. If they're offering a paid version that doesn't include any ads, doesn't track me, and doesn't phone home, I always it.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Do you really need statistical methods? I mean, the vast majority of internet users use Google in some shape or form, and probably have a Google account.

      Android phones account for 3/4ths of all smartphones out there, and most will also be associated with a Google account, most likely the same account as their desktop PC.

      That would match a good chunk of people right there - Google's already got all that information to tie people together. Hell, Google probably knows which computers are public use by seeing h

  • Too late (Score:5, Funny)

    by davidbrit2 ( 775091 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @07:24PM (#42210207) Homepage
    Adblock already follows me from one device to the next.
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Which ones? Where's Adblock Plus [] for iOS? :P

      • Nowhere, unfortunately, but I do at least have some black hole zones configured on my home DNS server.
    • by ciurana ( 2603 )

      Privoxy ( follows me wherever I go with ad blocking.

      * Set it on my gateway.
      * Require my own authenticated proxy for computer + mobile device, that in turn connects through Privoxy.

      I haven't seen an ad in like, forever. Not on iOS, not on any of my systems.


  • We're all familiar with ads that seem to follow you around as you go from one website to another.

    Ads? Do companies still use those silly things? Between Ghostery and Adblock Plus when I'm in Chrome at work on my Windows 7 box and Adblock Plus and a modified hosts file when I'm at home in Safari on my Mac, I haven't seen an ad in months, let alone one following me around.

  • I really hope they dont follow me from my VM Porn browser!!!!
  • what do you mean, soon?
    most ads are tied to your username into whatever software you are using.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've encountered this some 4 years ago already. One day, while at the office, I noticed an ad on my work laptop for something that I just recently had spent a few hours searching for on my home machine. Nice coincidence, I thought. But it wasn't. I noticed over the next few weeks that it was not just one ad. I was being targeted with stuff related to that earlier search. I think they linked the two devices because both regularly go onto the network via my home router.

    Since that event I've become really extr

  • Down with intrusive ads and behavior monitoring!
  • In other news - AdBlock Plus announces support for other platforms.

  • by kawabago ( 551139 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @08:49PM (#42211045)
    If I don't buy something first time I see an add, showing it to me again is just going to fail again. Repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different result is one of the hall marks of insanity!
  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @08:53PM (#42211077)
    I'm sure that advertises follows people across devices, already. Most people I know are either logged into Google or Apple at home, at work, and on all of their gadgets. Of course, they're already being tracked.
  • Google account (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tony Isaac ( 1301187 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @09:08PM (#42211229) Homepage

    What's the first thing you do when you set up a new Android phone? Log in to your Google account.
    You probably search for things on Google using your Google account.
    If you use Chrome, you probably log in with your Google account.
    Who is the biggest Internet advertiser?

    It already doesn't matter what device you are using.

    • by knarf ( 34928 )

      Actually that is not what I do when I set up an Android phone. I skip the Google account creation, root the phone, disable the Google services and re-enable them on demand. That way I only get to tell Google about my activities with the phone when I'm using the 'play store' (horrible name, that). As soon as I'm done playing with the store I press the 'disable' button and 'poof', there goes my Google login. The only disadvantage to this is that I have to enter my account details whenever I want to use the 'p

  • No it wont. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday December 06, 2012 @10:33PM (#42211861) Homepage

    In fact I get no advertisements on any of my phones, tablets, TV or computers.

    you see, I'm one of those evil terrorists that blocks advertising. I block it in my devices, I record TV with MythTV that strips out Commercials.
    I am evil incarnate. Children go to sleep hungry because of my actions, and the enture economic collapse is my fault due to the adblocking.

    Want to know what is even more evil? I block telemarketing calls, and I dont read any spam. I am evil Incarnate and utterly proud of who I am.

  • "...some experts aren't convinced that the data will be truly anonymous." By virtue of the fact that advertisers are trying to link mobile data to desktop/laptop data, I'd say it's pretty far from anonymous. Advertisers will do anything to waste our time with irrelevant data in the interest of making a few bucks. In other news, the sun will rise tomorrow.
  • Adblock+Ghostery+Downloading all my movies/tv. I don't get any advertising, let alone that which "follows" me.
  • In current implementations of the scheme many of the ads I see on webpages using this type of system are to products and services I have already purchased.

    A good example is when I log into my student account at my local university and I then get start getting inundated with ads about what a cutting-edge school it is.

    Not quite as clever as it seems.

    • P.S.

      As a matter of fact one company that does this type of marketing is literally across the street from the aforementioned university ( you know who you are ).

  • From TFA : "We're all familiar with ads that seem to follow you around as you go from one website to another"

    Speak for yourself moon_unit2. I never notice the adverts

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith