Google Will Try Limiting Use of Cookies In New Test

Google Will Try Limiting Use of Cookies In New Test

News by Roberto Orosa
Published: December 15, 2023

Google will begin testing a new feature that will ban third-party cookies on its Chrome browsers, the company announced Thursday.

Third-party cookies are small pieces of data from external websites used for tracking and advertising across different sites. Because of this, concerns about privacy have led to changes in browser policies, with Google's Chrome now actively working against it. 

While it remains in its testing phase, the search giant is set to roll out "Tracking Protection" on January 4 to 1% of Chrome users globally, enabling default limitations on cross-site tracking.

Google plans to completely remove third-party cookies from its browsers by the second half of 2024.

However, the timing will depend on whether it can resolve concerns from the U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) about potential antitrust issues.

U.K. Is Investigating Google’s Practices

The CMA is in the process of investigating Google's move to cut support for certain cookies, fearing it could harm competition in digital advertising.

Cookies are important files that help websites and advertisers recognize and track users. The European Union's antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, has also stated that inquiries into Google's tools blocking third-party cookies will continue.

While the restriction of cookies strengthens user data privacy, advertisers fear that losing them in the widely used Chrome browser will restrict their ability to gather personalized ad data, leaving them overly reliant on Google's user databases.

Over the past few months, several watchdogs have questioned tech giants and their rules and regulations surrounding user protection and data privacy.

In August, Google updated its Ads Transparency Center to align with the EU's Digital Services Act (DSA), meeting specific DSA requirements by adjusting trust and safety processes.

Google also enhanced data access for researchers, introducing a user-friendly Transparency Center, and expanding transparency reports to cover content moderation practices, in line with its ongoing efforts to align with DSA goals and policies.

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