Google has announced that they will not be providing advertisers a way to track individual users once Chrome phases out third-party cookies in 2022.
Google stands as one of the world’s largest advertising sellers, but will follow other browser providers like Mozilla Firefox and Apple’s Safari in removing third-party tracking cookies.
The UK’s competition authority (The Competition and Markets Authority) said in January that Google’s plan to remove third-party cookies could have a significant impact on the advertising market and news websites. This is because the change would see the tech giant share less data with advertisers.
Cookies store small amounts of information about a user’s activity on a website and are used across the internet. However, third-party cookies can be used in order to track users across different websites. This data can be used in different ways – for example, advertising one website’s products to a user while they browse another one.
Some critics of Google’s plan to remove third-party cookies have claimed that the move would prevent the company’s rivals from gathering meaningful information for ad targeting, while Google may still be able to do so.
However, Google appears to have addressed this worry by stating in a blog post that ‘once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products’.
Despite this announcement, industry group Marketers for an Open Web argue that Google will retain an unfair advantage over competitors. Director James Roswell noted that Google hasn’t guaranteed they will stop personalised marketing or gathering of data inside its own products.
As Google moves towards a future without third-party cookies, the company have said that they, along with other companies, will need to devise solutions in order to ‘prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers’.
One solution proposed by the company in their blog post was to ‘hide individuals within large crowds of people with common interests’ to conceal their browsing habits and history.
You can read more about Google’s announcement to move towards a ‘privacy-first web’ here.