Google Encouraged by Its Alternative to Cookies

Joanna Estrada
January 27, 2021

Third-party cookies are a commonly used type of cookie that advertisers rely on to track what websites users visit and target them with personalized ads. The options being explored by Google directly relate to how they are going to make themselves safer for their users.

The Alphabet Inc. unit upended the advertising industry with its decision a year ago to phase out third-party cookies that help advertisers pinpoint customers with ads for websites they previously visited and monitor which ads convinced them to buy. But the way they track individuals' personal browsing has long raised privacy concerns, leading Google to say past year that it would phase them out in 2022.

Third-party cookies offer data that can be valuable to advertisers for the objective of targeting ads, measuring their effectiveness and stopping fraud.

Chrome is the most widely used web browser, with more than 60% of the market globally, according to Statcounter.

The Mountain View-based search giant has announced that when you are sharing your screen, Google Chrome can now automatically hide the content in the notifications displayed by the browser.

Replacing cookie-based ad targeting online is hard amid sweeping privacy protection reform, because it is a lucrative revenue stream for Internet companies seeking to draw in big advertising dollars.

Google's plan has drawn scrutiny from Britain's competition watchdog, which this month opened an investigation into whether it could undermine online ad competition and entrench Google's dominant position in the digital advertising industry.

In a December antitrust lawsuit against Google, Texas and nine other USA states suggested the plan could end up increasing Google's advantage over other companies by giving it more data than competitors.

Warning messages that a website uses cookies may soon be a thing of the past, as new results from some experiments show that Google's technology for changing cookie-based advertising targets may be more effective than the current model.

In a blog post, Google's group product manager for user trust and privacy, Chetna Bindra, sought to ease fears about the project, saying the proposals will "help publishers and advertisers succeed while also protecting people's privacy as they move across the web".

In testing, FLoC has given advertisers "at least 95% of the conversions per dollar" compared to cookie-based ads, Google told Axios on Monday.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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