Google is on a mission to phase out third-party cookies once and for all with its Privacy Sandbox initiative, but only intends to disable them in the second half of 2024.
In an announcement, the search giant explained its aim to improve people’s privacy by developing privacy-preserving alternatives to third-party cookies — an ongoing issue that tracks users’ browsing activity for targeted ads. Google had put plans in place to ditch these cookies with a FLoC advertising tool last year, but that didn’t go down too well.
With its new Privacy Sandbox initiative, Google is taking its time in its transition from third-party cookies. Currently, it is expanding the testing windows for its new privacy-focused APIs, which also aim to get rid of cross-site tracking identifiers or covert techniques, such as fingerprinting.
“The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome,” the post states. “This feedback aligns with our commitment to the CMA to ensure that the Privacy Sandbox provides effective, privacy-preserving technologies and the industry has sufficient time to adopt these new solutions.”
While third-party cookies will still be on the loose In Chrome until the second half of 2024, Google wants its Privacy Sandbox APIs to be available for all by late 2023. Right now, however, developers can start testing the APIs, and users around the globe can get their hands on the tools starting this August.
Earlier this year, Google introduced a new interest-based advertising tool to help phase out third-party cookies. Called “Topics”, browsers will pick select topics based on your recent browsing history on the device you’re using, delivering more general ads rather than specific ones. These topics could include anything from fitness to rock music. What’s more, Topics are kept for only three weeks and old topics are then deleted.
“When you visit a participating site, Topics picks just three topics, one topic from each of the past three weeks, to share with the site and its advertising partners,” the post explains.
Google wants to give users more control, which is why it will allow Chrome users to see and remove topics they don’t want. More importantly, users will also be able to disable the feature completely.
Chrome is making tracks to give users their privacy, but these private browsers protect you from sneaky apps since they already block third-party trackers. If you are thinking of getting rid of any sort of tracking while online, find out how to turn off email tracking.