Google announced that within the next two years the Chrome browser would no longer allow 3rd-party cookies. Reactions are mixed.
A cookie is a small chunk of data used to store stateful information in a browser while a user browses a website. These first-party cookies are useful for both the user and the website to store session information which otherwise would be lost once a user navigates away from a site.
But then there is this other type of cookies, the ones that are cherished by advertisers and feared by users – at least those who care about their privacy. These so-called 3rd-party cookies find their way into our browsers as we surf the internet. Like ticks that attach to your body and suck your blood those cookies attach to our online activity and track as much information as they can.
Unlike more privacy-sensitive browsers like Firefox or Safari Google’s Chrome allows 3rd-party cookies without little restrictions. Which does not come as a surprise since Google’s main business is advertising. When Google announced that Chrome is going to block 3rd-party cookies it was greeted with skepticism: “Consumer groups and privacy experts aren’t entirely certain Google’s particularly well suited to spearhead the privacy revolution”, writes Vice.com.
Google has been working for a while on its own Privacy Sandbox, a project with the goal to replace cookies with browser-based machine-learning, which would allow for user-targeted advertising without tracking a user’s online activity. Google has not revealed how exactly this is going to happen. But whatever Google will present two years from now it will have a big impact on the online advertising industry. And, by extension, on the privacy of Chrome users.