Google Chrome Postpones Blocking Third-Party Cookies to Next Year 

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Ross Jukes
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Last updated: May 9, 2024
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Google has announced another postponement of its initiative to block third-party cookies in Chrome. Initially set for earlier implementation, the company now expects to start this policy early next year. 

The tech giant said they needed more time to respond to different kinds of feedback from developers, industry stakeholders and regulatory bodies. This decision aligns with the requirement from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for additional time to review the necessary evidence with their findings expected by the end of June. This move reflects Google’s cautious approach to balancing user privacy with industry and regulatory expectations.

Google has changed its schedule for removing third-party cookies from Chrome, as detailed in an update to its Privacy Sandbox page. Google initially promised to remove third-party cookies by the end of 2024, however this goal is currently deemed unrealistic within the timeframe. The new plan is to begin the phase-out in 2025.

This shift is primarily due to the complexities involved in coordinating with regulatory bodies like the U.K.-based Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to make sure that the new tools developed to replace cookies, known as the Privacy Sandbox, follow competitive standards.

But these tools have been criticized by adtech companies, publishers and ad agencies, among others in the advertising business. Concerns range from the tools being overly complex to use, the effectiveness of replacing cookie functions, and concerns over increased control by Google.

Recognizing these issues, Google has stressed how important it is to listen to the different opinions of the business, regulators, and developers. The tech giant is still committed to working closely with everyone to make the Privacy Sandbox proposals better. 

“We recognize that there are ongoing challenges related to reconciling divergent feedback from the industry, regulators, and developers, and will continue to engage closely with the entire ecosystem,” Google said in its post. “It’s also critical that the CMA has sufficient time to review all evidence including results from industry tests, which the CMA has asked market participants to provide by the end of June.” 

Delays stamp on the paper

Google has postponed the removal of third-party cookies for the third time since its original announcement in January 2020. The company had promised to get rid of third-party cookies within two years in order to protect users’ privacy while they browsed the web. But this process has encountered multiple delays, primarily to provide the advertising industry with additional preparation time amidst ongoing uncertainties.

Despite beginning to phase out cookies on a tiny scale, affecting one percent of browser traffic at the start of the year, significant questions and concerns continue about the wider effects of this move. Each delay was due to a need for more clarity and readiness among parties. This shows how complicated it is to move away from third-party cookies.

UK Regulators Express concerns Over Google’s Privacy Sandbox proposal

UK regulators, including the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), have raised significant concerns about Google’s Privacy Sandbox proposal. In January 2024, the CMA pointed out 39 concerns with the proposal, focusing on the potential for Google to keep special access to user data while making it harder for competitors to gain access to it. The concerns extend to fears that Google might unfairly manage competitor participation in the Privacy Sandbox, potentially favoring its own advertising services, and that the changes could make it harder for publishers and advertisers to detect fraud.

In short 

Google has once again delayed its plan to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome, now targeting a 2025 start due to complex feedback from developers, the advertising industry, and regulatory bodies like the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority. The tech giant faces significant challenges, including criticism from the ad industry regarding the complexity and potential dominance of its Privacy Sandbox tools. This delay marks the third since the initial 2020 announcement, highlighting the complexities of balancing privacy, regulatory compliance, and industry needs. In a related development, Google commits to deleting Incognito Mode data following a lawsuit settlement, adding another layer to its ongoing privacy adjustments.

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Ross Jukes
Ross Jukes
Ross Jukes is an accomplished American copywriter with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing. Based in the United States, Ross is a language expert, fluent in English and specializes in creating compelling and engaging content. With years of experience in the industry, he has honed his skills in various forms of writing, including advertising, marketing, and web content. Ross's creativity and keen eye for detail have made him a valuable asset in the field of copywriting, where he continues to excel and innovate.

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