Google will debut its replacement for third-party internet cookies inside the Chrome browser this spring.
The change will start rolling out in April with the Chrome 90 release. The software will include a new on-off switch for the company’s Privacy Sandbox initiative, an attempt to phase out the third-party cookies with a Google-sponsored alternative.
Other browsers, including Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox, already block third-party cookies by default because they can let companies profile your internet activities. This is usually done to serve up relevant ads, but most web users aren't particularly well-versed on how their activity is tracked.
Rather than go full nuclear on the tracking, Google came up with a compromise solution to the cookie debacle. The company plans on using the browser to group together internet users who have similar browsing patterns. In turn, businesses can serve relevant ads to these clusters of like-minded people, removing the need to track users individually.
The Privacy Sandbox initiative also includes other proposals designed to ensure advertisers can still measure ad traffic and fight digital fraudsters, without resorting to installing cookies. At the same time, Google is bolstering processes on Chrome that can stamp out invasive web tracking, including the need for websites to collect your computer’s IP address.
Google’s plan is to fully implement the privacy controls over the next year. But a key question facing the Privacy Sandbox is whether it can still serve relevant ads. On Monday, Google said it can.
Still, the approach has a catch, it gives Google even more power in the online ad space at the expense of third-party businesses. To offset these concerns, the company has been turning the Privacy Sandbox initiative into an open standard and will accept feedback from industry players.
Before the Privacy Sandbox control debuts in the browser, Google will conduct a public trial for software developers with the Chrome 89 release in March. Advertisers will then have a chance to test out the system in the second quarter.
Google Product Manager said, this approach effectively hides individuals in the crowd and uses on-device processing to keep a person’s web history private on the browser. Last week, we introduced Gnatcatcher, a proposal that allows groups of users to send their traffic through the same privatizing server, effectively hiding their IP addresses from the site host. Advertisers can expect to see at least 95 percent of the conversions per dollar spent when compared to cookie-based advertising. Today more than 30 different proposals have been offered by Chrome and others, including many that we believe are key to rendering third-party cookies obsolete.