Microsoft Edge is getting an ad tracking feature known as Transparent Ads, which the company says will improve privacy for users. While Google has taken plenty of heat for its own Privacy Sandbox and FLoC tracking, Microsoft is pressing ahead with a similar tool.

However, while Google was accused of trying to protect its ad revenue with FLoC and has since postponed the feature, Microsoft insists Transparent Ads is different. The company says Microsoft Edge will show users when their personal information is collected by advertisers when they browser.

Furthermore, the feature will highlight which ads are targeting the user based on the data. Sounds good, a tool that gives users the ability understand why they see certain ads. The core abilities of the tool are the following:

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  • See which ad provider is a part of the Transparent Ad Provider program.
  • See which ad provider is responsible for an ad.
  • See information about the data an ad provider collected or inferred to personalize that ad.
  • See the sites that an ad provider tracked the user across.
  • Visit the ad provider’s page to delete or de-identify any previously collected data.
  • Disable transparent ads in Microsoft Edge settings. When disabled, approved providers will not collect personal data in Microsoft Edge for personalized advertising.

How Transparent?

However, like Google, it seems Microsoft’s feature may not be as transparent as first thought. Specifically, the company is excluding some advertisers from the tracking tool. Although, while Google was hiding its intentions, Microsoft is clear why this happens.

The company points out all advertisers who join the Transparent Ads Provider program must meet the requirements. However, they will be exempt from any tracking when Balanced mode is chosen. This allows ad agencies to continue sending personalized ads. Users can also choose Strict mode which will stop the majority of ads from all advertisers.

Transparent Ads is rolling out for Microsoft Edge in preview through the Canary Channel.

Tip of the day: The Windows Sandbox gives Windows 10/11 Pro and Enterprise users a safe space to run suspicious apps without risk. In out tutorial we show you how to enable the Windows Sandbox feature.

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