Saturday, December 2, 2023

No more delays: Google reaffirms its plan to eliminate third-party cookies in Chrome

The plan of Google to delete third-party cookies in Chrome remains firm, company engineers confirmed in the last few hours. But not only that, since they also confirmed when it will be launched, implying that the project will not suffer delays again.

As already known, Google will begin a testing phase to eliminate third-party cookies in Chrome during the first quarter of 2024. In principle, will be blocked by default for 1% of web browser users.

The next step will be the gradual elimination of them globally, starting in the third quarter of 2024. However, this will be subject to the result of a consultation that will be carried out before the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

According to Google, before moving forward with the definitive blocking of third-party cookies in Chrome, They must be held accountable to British regulators. If the aforementioned body does not find any type of objections regarding competition, then the definitive step can be taken towards the implementation of the Privacy Sandbox standards.

Google ratifies its project to “kill” third-party cookies in Chrome

Google’s idea of ​​​​”killing” third-party cookies in Chrome has suffered several ups and downs since its announcement. In 2020, Mountain View revealed the implementation of FloCan initiative that was harshly criticized not only for being confusing for ordinary users, but also for being considered a threat to privacy.

After many back and forths, Google chose to bury FloC. However, it introduced a new proprietary alternative called Topics in early 2022. This API, which is part of Privacy Sandbox, proposes to use the last three weeks of users’ browsing history to identify their online interests.

In this way, those who use Google Chrome will receive personalized ads based on three of the five topics in which they showed the most interest, randomly choosing one for each week of history analyzed. According to Californians, under this new modality the use of covert tracking methods is discouraged to create an online profile of each person. Likewise, they ensure that the protocol includes limits to avoid advertising exploitation of topics that may be sensitive, related to race or gender, for example.

Regulatory pressure

Despite the changes implemented in Privacy Sandbox, Google has had to address the concerns of the British CMA. UK regulators said removing third-party cookies could give Mountain View excessive power over the online advertising market. That is why, beyond the test that will begin in the first months of 2024, they must still obtain final approval.

Once Google Chrome kills off third-party cookies, it will catch up with alternatives like Firefox, Brave, and Safari. The first two began blocking trackers entirely in 2019, while Apple’s browser adopted such a stance by default in 2020.

The problem for Google does not lie in the lack of technical resources to block third-party cookies by default in Chrome. Sundar Pichai’s people need to continue collecting user information to keep your online advertising business going. After all, it is the main source of income for the corporation. Finding a balance without compromising user privacy has proven to be much more complex than previously thought. And not everyone is convinced that it is possible to achieve it.

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