Google delays the death of third party cookies

Google will not immediately kill third party cookies in Chrome. The American company says it needs more time to allow the ecosystem to acclimate to its new plan.

The death of third-party cookies is falling further and further behind in Google. As the internet giant, announcing its plan in early 2020, said it would give itself two years to achieve it, things quickly got complicated. From now on, it is no longer in 2022 that the end of third-party cookies in Chrome will occur. Nor in 2023 for that matter. Let’s talk now about 2024.

The end of cookies in Chrome for 2024

In a progress report published on July 27, 2022 on an official blog, the Mountain View company outlined a new program. On this occasion, three new deadlines were set, in order, the group justifies, to extend the experimental phase underway to test the replacement solution for third-party cookies imagined by Google.

  • From the beginning of August, the Privacy Sandbox tests will be extended to several million Internet users worldwide, then even more until 2023;
  • The tools to take advantage of the Privacy Sandbox (or the APIs – application programming interfaces) will be integrated and available in Google Chrome during the third quarter of 2023;
  • The phasing out of third-party cookies in Chrome will begin in the second half of 2024.

The Privacy Sandbox is an environment inserted in Google Chrome and in which the American company explores alternatives to third-party cookies in terms of advertising. Because obviously Google does not intend to give up advertising and personalized ads: it is from this channel that the group derives most of its revenue.

What Google is trying to do, however, is to find a solution that reconciles its business model while taking into account regulatory developments, particularly in Europe. Legislation imposes an increasingly challenging framework for large groups, and any violation can result in a fine, the amount of which can be very high.

It is in the Privacy Sandbox that Google has, for example, explored a first track to not directly track Internet users, FLoC (acronym for Federated Learning of Cohorts). This approach, which has been explored for some time, except in Europe, obviously due to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), has ended up being discarded. Too contested.

Cookies on the left, the principle of themes on the right. Themes should be more digestible to understand. // Source: Google

Google has an interest-based plan

Instead of FLoC, Google is now working on another solution: Topics. It involves temporarily associating three centers of interest per Internet user, again with the aim of reconciling personalized advertising and privacy. It is, so to speak, a true squaring of the circle that must be resolved for the Mountain View company.

The topics were introduced in early 2022. They should be based on the user’s browsing history and be ” representative of the main areas of user interest for a given week Selected by Chrome’s algorithms, they are kept for a certain time, then deleted. Only the topics should be known to sites and advertisers.

Google explains that this new schedule should allow all stakeholders to have more time to test the Privacy Sandbox APIs before deleting third-party cookies in Chrome. Even Google, which is not unaware of being watched by the European Commission, has a vested interest in not rushing things and showing its concern for working with the entire ecosystem.

We are committed to making Privacy Sandbox a device that respects user privacy, while giving the industry time to adopt these new techniques. », Comments a company official. ” During this testing period, we will remain alert and continue to respond to community feedback.

Google’s maneuvers have attracted the attention of major regulators, in Europe and beyond, because the American company has enough weight to be able to change the landscape of the web – something it can do thanks, in particular, to its search engine. the advertising market and its Chrome web browser. And of course, Google is suspected of shaping it for its own sake.

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