Google delays third-party cookies removal amid regulatory scrutiny

The California-based company decided to delay the removal of a technology that tracks web browsing habits after regulatory scrutiny and backlash from privacy advocates.

June 25, 2021 04:02 pm | Updated 04:02 pm IST

Google delays third-party cookies removal amid regulatory scrutiny.

Google delays third-party cookies removal amid regulatory scrutiny.

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Google on Thursday said it will not phase out third party cookies until late 2023, almost two years later than its initial removal time of early 2022.

The California-based company decided to delay the removal of a technology that tracks web browsing habits after regulatory scrutiny and backlash from privacy advocates.

Its decision to phase out third-party cookies over a three-month period, starting in mid-2023 and ending in late 2023, is subject to a commitment made to United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Google said that its privacy sandbox, and other proposals, will protect people’s privacy, but it needs to move at a responsible pace to allow sufficient time to work with regulators, and for publishers and the advertising industry to migrate their services.

“This is important to avoid jeopardizing the business models of many web publishers which support freely available content,” Google said.

The search giant last year announced that it will remove tracking cookies and replace them with a more privacy focussed technology. One of the proposals has been Federated learning of Cohort or FLoC.

It is a method where groups of demographically similar users are created for ad targeting, eliminating the need to track individual user. However, no other browser is on-board with FLoC yet.

Google said it is working with the web community to create more private approaches to key areas, including ad measurement, delivering relevant ads and content, and fraud detection.

“Today, Chrome and others have offered more than 30 proposals, and four of those proposals are available in origin trials,” it added.

However, Google’s privacy sandbox initiatives have invited criticism from the online ad industry. Experts believe that the new initiative will help the company cement its advertising dominance.

Not only experts, Google received scrutiny from global regulators as well. Following investigation into its privacy sandbox, Britain’s CMA will have a key oversight role over technologies from the privacy sandbox .

Earlier this week, the European Union started an investigation into Google’s ad practices , including the company’s plan to remove third-party cookies.

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