Google Chrome tests blocking third-party cookies

Google has started testing changes to its Chrome browser that disable third-party cookies, initially made available to 1% of global users.

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Google has begun testing changes to its Chrome browser that disable third-party cookies to enhance user privacy. This feature will initially be made available to about 1% of global users, approximately 30 million people. Google plans for a full rollout to eliminate cookies later this year.

While Google describes these changes as a test, some advertisers are concerned about the potential negative impact on their businesses. Third-party cookies play a crucial role in collecting analytic data, personalizing online ads, and monitoring browsing activities, which websites rely on to sell advertising and generate revenue. However, cookies can also intrude on users, leading to ads appearing on all visited sites.

Phil Duffield, UK vice president at The Trade Desk, suggests that Google’s solution primarily benefits Google itself and may not significantly benefit others in the advertising industry. Protecting consumer privacy online does not necessarily have to make it harder for publishers to earn revenue. Duffield suggests that the advertising industry collectively works towards building a better solution.

Why does it matter?

Google’s testing of changes in Chrome that disable third-party cookies aims to enhance user privacy. Competitors already offer similar options, prompting Google to provide users with the choice to temporarily re-enable cookies for specific websites. Competitors like Apple’s Safari and Mozilla Firefox already offer options to block third-party cookies. Google will randomly prompt users to decide if they want to ‘browse with more privacy,’ with the option to temporarily re-enable third-party cookies if a website doesn’t function correctly without them.
The UK’s competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority, could potentially block Google’s plans if it determines they will harm other businesses. This highlights the importance of ensuring fair competition and considering the impact on various stakeholders.