In 2019 – 2020, Google officially announced that it was going to phase out the use of third-party cookies in the Chrome browser. Initially, the tech giant wanted to remove support for third-party cookies from its browser by 2022 and replace them with a new “Privacy Sandbox” technology.
Google has now said it intends to defer third-party cookie support until the second half of 2024. This decision was announced by the vice president of Google Privacy Sandbox Anthony Chavez (Anthony Chavez) in the company’s official blog on July 27.
This pause is intended to give developers and organizations more time to evaluate and test the Google Privacy Sandbox:
After reviewing the feedback received, we have concluded that more time should be allowed to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before opting out of third-party cookies entirely. This decision is fully in line with our commitment to the Competition and Markets Authority to ensure that the Privacy Sandbox provides effective technology that maintains a high level of privacy and that the industry has sufficient time to implement new solutions. The new approach of rejecting third-party cookies ensures that the Internet can continue to thrive without relying on cross-site tracking identifiers or hidden practices such as digital profiling.
FLoC, Federated Learning of Cohorts, was initially considered as a replacement for third-party cookies, and has been critically embraced by organizations around the world. Browser makers like Brave or Vivaldi quickly abandoned FLoC, and Google was forced to rethink its approach.
FLoC was Google’s first attempt to shift tracking from individual users to relatively small groups (cohorts) of users. Tracking methods are used by advertising companies for several purposes, including delivering personalized ads and receiving data about purchases made by users. Subsequently, Google came up with the new concept of Topics, which was also not well received in the privacy-focused communities.
The Topics technology, which is part of the Privacy Sandbox, attempts to associate a limited number of topics with users. Google plans to use your browsing history to generate these themes that will be used to display ads. According to Google, themes change frequently and the entire process takes place on the local machine. With the introduction of Topics, Google has delayed the end date for third-party cookies to 2023.
The updated third-party cookie opt-out schedule is now as follows:
- Right now, developers can test the Privacy Sandbox API.
- Early August 2022 – Privacy Sandbox trials will begin testing with millions of Chrome users.
- 2022-2023 — test coverage expansions.
- Q3 2023 – Privacy Sandbox APIs will become available by default in stable versions of Chrome.
- The second half of 2024 is the end of support for third-party cookies in Chrome.
Google plans to display a tooltip for users, giving them the ability to manage their participation.” Chrome users who want to avoid testing might consider switching to a different browser.