Google's Privacy Sandbox for Android gets its first developer preview

Android 13 Tiramisu
(Image credit: Alex Dobie / Android Central)

 What you need to know

  • Google is launching its first developer preview for Privacy Sandbox on Android. 
  • The preview will include the new Topics API and SDK Runtime.
  • The Privacy Sandbox preview is intended for developers and will be available via manual install only. 

Google’s first major Privacy Sandbox proposal may not have gone too well, but the company is going full steam ahead with its next proposal. Google is releasing its first developer preview of the Privacy Sandbox on Android, which will include its new Topics API.

For the uninitiated, the Topics API is Google’s latest privacy initiative to replace the privacy-invading cookies. It works by collecting various topics you’re interested in based on your browsing activity and keeping a list on your browser. Advertisers can access this list to know what kind of ads to target. However, the websites you visit won’t be shared, and users can edit their topics or turn them off altogether.

The new developer preview will also include the new SDK Runtime, another privacy initiative that will allow third-party SDKs to run in a dedicated runtime environment. This will limit access to an app's data by third-party advertiser SDKs.

Google first announced Privacy Sandbox for Android back in February, extending its privacy efforts on the web to apps running on the best Android phones. These new Privacy Sandbox APIs included in the developer preview will run on top of the Android 13 beta and be available for eligible devices from the Pixel 4 to the Pixel 6 series. However, as this is a developer-focused release, the preview release will only be available via manual download.

Developers will have access to the Android SDK and 64-bit Android Emulator system images, as well as sample code and guides for both the Topics API and SDK Runtime. 

Google plans to update the developer preview in the coming months with an early look at other Privacy Sandbox initiatives, including Attribution Reporting and FLEDGE APIs.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.