Google to phase out third-party cookies

Illustration by Tam Nguyen  Ad Age

"This is our strategy to re-architect the standards of the web, to make it privacy-preserving by default", Justin Schuh, Google's director for Chrome engineering, told TechCrunch.

This all stems from Google's announcement back in August of its so-called Privacy Sandbox initiative, Schuh continues, which involves the company trying to help develop a new set of open standards to enhance privacy on the web - indeed, to use this open-source initiative as a springboard for making the web "more private and secure for users, while also supporting publishers". In Safari, Apple chose to simply block third-party cookies, Google says this simply encouraged advertisers and other companies to use more subversive methods of tracking. The approach, also known as "cross-site tracking", can let online marketers bombard you with the same ads, even though you're moving from one destination to another, which can result in a creepy experience. It's why other browsers, such as Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari, have made a decision to block third-party cookies by default at a time when concerns about digital privacy are growing.

The cookies, which are used to track consumers from website to website across the web, have outlived their lifecycle.

Unsurprisingly, it is Chrome OS users that will enjoy support for longer, but over the course of the next couple of years Google will be "phasing out support for Chrome Apps across all operating systems".

While Google hasn't yet specified what it plans to replace cookies with, the amount of user data it collects anyway means it might not matter.

Chrome is the most widely used desktop browser in the US and the second-most widely used mobile browser in the usa behind Safari. However, Google didn't follow through with the plan and chose to wait until more Desktop PWAs became available to install on the platforms.

"We can not get there alone, and that's why we need the ecosystem to engage on these proposals".

"Some browsers have reacted to these concerns by blocking third-party cookies, but we believe this has unintended consequences that can negatively impact both users and the web ecosystem", he said, adding that it could promote more "opaque" and "invasive" tracking techniques. Those searching on engines or visiting websites through its browser will have increased security.



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