In line with its announcement last year to remove support for third-party cookies, Google confirmed that once third-party cookies are phased out, it will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will the company use them in its products. Instead,
Google’s web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.
“We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses,” said David Temkin, director of Product Management, Ads Privacy and Trust at Google. “We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long-term investment.”
Committed to protecting people’s data privacy, Google highlighted that people should not have to accept being tracked across the web to get the benefits of relevant advertising. And advertisers don’t need to track individual consumers across the web to get the performance benefits of digital advertising.
Advances in aggregation, anonymization, on-device processing, and other privacy-preserving technologies offer a clear path to replacing individual identifiers. In fact, Google’s latest tests of FLoC show one way to effectively take third-party cookies out of the advertising equation and instead hide individuals within large crowds of people with common interests.
Chrome intends to make FLoC-based cohorts available for public testing through origin trials with its next release this month, and Google expects to begin testing FLoC-based cohorts with advertisers in Google Ads in Q2. Chrome also will offer the first iteration of new user controls in April and will expand on these controls in future releases, as more proposals reach the origin trial stage, and they receive more feedback from end-users and the industry.
This points to a future where there is no need to sacrifice relevant advertising and monetization in order to deliver a private and secure experience.
“Keeping the internet open and accessible for everyone requires all of us to do more to protect privacy — and that means an end to not only third-party cookies but also any technology used for tracking individual people as they browse the web,” said Temkin. “We remain committed to preserving a vibrant and open ecosystem where people can access a broad range of ad-supported content with confidence that their privacy and choices are respected. We look forward to working with others in the industry on the path forward.”