Google wants to make third-party cookies obsolete

David Matthews

TS Maniac
Staff member

Third-party cookies are a popular way for advertisers to track users across the internet. As part of its initiative to make Chrome more privacy focused, the company is planning to end support for third-party cookies within the next two years. Justin Schuh, Director of Chrome Engineering, elaborated more in a recent blog post:

"After initial dialogue with the web community, we are confident that with continued iteration and feedback, privacy-preserving and open-standard mechanisms like the Privacy Sandbox can sustain a healthy, ad-supported web in a way that will render third-party cookies obsolete. Once these approaches have addressed the needs of users, publishers, and advertisers, and we have developed the tools to mitigate workarounds, we plan to phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome. Our intention is to do this within two years. But we cannot get there alone, and that’s why we need the ecosystem to engage on these proposals. We plan to start the first origin trials by the end of this year, starting with conversion measurement and following with personalization."

The Privacy Sandbox that Schuh is referring to set of open standards it was developing with the aim of protecting user privacy while not interfering with the advertising business. This is obviously important since Google's core business is selling advertisements. Privacy Sandbox looks to limit fingerprinting by allowing personalized ads without the user divulging personally identifying information (PII).

Many browsers, including Firefox and Brave, outright block third party cookies. However, Google argues that this hurts the users in the long run and actually encourages workarounds such as web fingerprinting. Because users cannot delete or clear their digital fingerprint, they cannot control how their information is being used and subverts the will of the user.

Google also bluntly points out that blocking cookies without an alternative way serving relevant ads harms publishers' ability to make money. This is the part that affects Google directly so it would make sense that the company not harm its primary revenue stream.

Some of the measures Google is implementing in its own Chrome browser include limiting insecure cross-site tracking by ensuring third-party cookies are only accessed over HTTPS. They're also developing new techniques to detect covert tracking and other anti-fingerprinting measures to discourage their use.

To be fair, Google doesn't want to do this alone and is open to other solutions that don't impede on a user's privacy. The company been trying to work with standards organizations such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Schuh suggests giving feedback via the web standards community proposals on GitHub or through the W3C itself.

Permalink to story.

 

Danny101

TS Evangelist
Ads that follow you need to be outlawed. It's simple, whatever page you're on, can host ads. Ideally, pertaining to the contents of the page.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cubi Dorf

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
OK, so Google eliminates 3rd party cookies, does this mean that then they'll be the only entity culling the ad revenue from following you around? I mean it's not likely they'll be giving up on ad revenue anytime soon.
 

picka

TS Booster
Ads that follow you need to be outlawed. It's simple, whatever page you're on, can host ads. Ideally, pertaining to the contents of the page.
That's even worst. Going back to the early days with random ads everywhere. At least with Google you get ads that might be of interest to you.
 

Danny101

TS Evangelist
That's even worst. Going back to the early days with random ads everywhere. At least with Google you get ads that might be of interest to you.
I don't want that either. I'm talking about website and subject. For instance, here on Techspot which is mostly computer and tech related. They can sell ad space for related products. If you're own a site about cars, then ad space is sold to automotive companies. Similar to magazines.
 

picka

TS Booster
I don't want that either. I'm talking about website and subject. For instance, here on Techspot which is mostly computer and tech related. They can sell ad space for related products. If you're own a site about cars, then ad space is sold to automotive companies. Similar to magazines.
How about a news website, or Facebook, or Reddit? A lot of websites aren't easily definable. There has to be a midpoint between convenience and privacy for ads.
 

Danny101

TS Evangelist
How about a news website, or Facebook, or Reddit? A lot of websites aren't easily definable. There has to be a midpoint between convenience and privacy for ads.
It can be a mix of things. Ad space can rotate ads. Honestly though, I don't purchase by ads. I search out things that I want. Sure ads allow for me to know what things exist. We got along without ads following us around prior to the internet and we can get along without them after we stop ad spying.
 

picka

TS Booster
But ads allow us to have pretty good content, such as this lovely tech site, for no upfront costs. Without ads we go back to subscription models, which a lot of smaller sites simply couldn't sustain as they lack enough subscribers.

The reality is that the modern web is built around serving customers ads in exchange for free access to content.
 

Danny101

TS Evangelist
But ads allow us to have pretty good content, such as this lovely tech site, for no upfront costs. Without ads we go back to subscription models, which a lot of smaller sites simply couldn't sustain as they lack enough subscribers.

The reality is that the modern web is built around serving customers ads in exchange for free access to content.
It's a cost-benefit analysis. What you consider a benefit, others consider a cost. Wish there was a way to make everyone happy.
 

Cubi Dorf

TS Booster
Maybe tracking should be opt-in for people who are wanting it. I consider tracking across the internet to be stalking. it is literal being followed everywhere you go and make records of your life. I think it crosses line of what it decent, but if it is opt-in then I having no problem with it. Ad blocking is currently the only way to opt out in most places, which is then block all ad including ad not involving tracking.


That's even worst. Going back to the early days with random ads everywhere. At least with Google you get ads that might be of interest to you.