Google announced on Wednesday that it is postponing its plans to disable third-party cookies in the Chrome web browser from late 2023 to the second half of 2024.
“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,” Anthony Chavez, vice president of Privacy Sandbox, stated.
Keeping this in mind, the internet and ad tech behemoth announced a “deliberate approach” to extending the testing window for its continuing Privacy Sandbox activities before phasing out third-party cookies.
Cookies are packets of data that a web browser places on a user’s computer or another device when they visit a website, with third-party cookies powering much of the digital advertising ecosystem and its capacity to follow users across other sites to serve tailored adverts.
Google’s Privacy Sandbox is an umbrella phrase for a collection of technologies aimed at improving consumers’ privacy across the web and Android by limiting cross-site and cross-app tracking and offering improved, safer alternatives to serve interest-based ads.
While Google had intended to launch the functionality in early 2022, it altered the timeframe in June 2021, proposing to phase away third-party cookies over a three-month period beginning in mid-2023 and concluding in late 2023.
“It’s become clear that more time is needed across the ecosystem to get this right,” the company noted at the time.
The second extension comes after Google introduced Topics API in January 2022 as a successor for FLoC (short for Federated Learning of Cohorts), followed by a developer preview of Privacy Sandbox for Android in May.
In February 2022, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) formally accepted Google’s commitments on how it develops the technology, emphasising the need to flesh out Privacy Sandbox so that it promotes competition and helps publishers increase ad revenue while also protecting consumer privacy. According to the revised plan, Privacy Sandbox trials will be opened to users worldwide next month, with the number of people participating in the testing increasing during the remainder of the year and into 2023.
Google also stated that users will be prompted to control their participation and that the APIs will be broadly accessible by Q3 2023, with third-party cookie support expected to be phased off in H2 2024.
For its part, the CMA confirmed that it is aware of “alternative approaches being created by third parties” and that it is “working with the [Information Commissioner’s Office] to better assess their feasibility and possible implications.
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