Google has announced that it will not replace third-party cookies with any other form of personal tracking technology in its Chrome browser. Third party cookies are used to track user behavior across the web. In January, Google announced that it would phase out its support for third-party cookies. However, this should happen in the next two years. Apple’s Safari browser and Mozilla’s Firefox browser have already announced plans to expire third-party cookies.
In a new blog post, David Temkin, Director of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Trust, makes it absolutely clear that Google “will not create or use alternate identifiers to track people while browsing the Internet,” .
Temkin said, while Google has announced plans to protect user anonymity, questions continue to be asked about “joining others in the ad tech industry who want to replace third-party cookies with alternative user-level identifiers”.
The post adds that while the industry has tried to deliver relevant advertising to consumers, the way in which it has been done has resulted in an overall erosion of trust.
It cites data from the Pew Research Center that shows that “72 percent of people believe that almost everything they do online is being followed by advertisers, tech companies, or other companies.” Another 81 percent say that the potential risks they face from data collection outweigh the benefits, the blog adds.
When it comes to alternative trackers, Google says these solutions “are unlikely to meet increasing consumer expectations for privacy.” The post also notes that they are likely to struggle to hold their own against “rapidly evolving regulatory constraints” and the company does not consider them a “sustainable long-term investment”.
The post adds that Google’s “web products are supported by privacy APIs that prevent individual tracking while delivering results for advertisers and publishers.”
“People shouldn’t have to accept being followed on the internet to take advantage of relevant advertising. And advertisers don’t have to track individual consumers online to take advantage of the performance benefits of digital advertising, ”Temkin writes.
According to Google, there have been several “advances in aggregation, anonymization, on-device processing, and other privacy-preserving technologies that provide a clear path to individual identifier replacement.”
Google Chrome and FLoCs
Google announced in January that it would test Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) as an advertising option. In FLoC, the idea is to group large groups of people with similar interests together rather than pursuing individual interests.
According to Google, the latest FLoC tests are “a way to effectively remove third-party cookies from the advertising equation and instead hide people in a large number of people with common interests.”
With the next version of Chrome this month, FLoC-based cohorts will be made available for public testing through origin testing. FLoC-based cohorts are also expected to be tested with advertisers in Google Ads in the second quarter.
Chrome will also offer the first iteration of new user controls in April, according to the blog, and will expand these controls in future releases. Google says it will continue to support first-party relationships on its ad platforms for partners where they have direct connections with their own customers.