Google Wants To Kill Third Party Internet Cookies

Feb 10, 2020

Google Wants To Kill Third Party Internet Cookies

Before we dig deep into what Google is planning to ban third party internet cookies, we shall throw some light on what are internet cookies and its types in order to grasp the information in this article well.

What are internet cookies?

Internet cookies are small text files that rest on your web browser (Google Chrome, Internet explorer, firefox) or computer by web servers. A cookie is created when you first visit a site to store information. This text file captures information like your name, a coded number, and the domain name of the visited site. When you return to that same website, the cookie tells the site that a computer with a specific code has re-visited the website and it then creates a log entry of your activities, preferences, and clicks on your previous visits. The information collected from these cookies enables websites to offer predefined preference settings and language settings, enhanced online shopping experience, ad management, and more. They do not store any of your personal information such as your email address or phone number. So keeping all the pros and cons in mind cookies do no harm. 

First party internet cookies:
Cookies can track your activities on the website from multiple sources. First party cookies are sent directly by the website you visited and they are usually identified by the site’s domain name. 

Third-party internet cookies:
Third-party cookies, as the name suggests doesn’t come from the original website visited. It comes from those with an interest in the site such as advertisers and ad servers. It is a difficult task to identify a third-party cookie because they can be connected to any banner ad or any click button on a site. They not only allow advertisers and ad servers to alternate the ads sent to a specific computer but also to track how often an ad has been viewed and by whom.

Advertisers and ad servers are misusing the content of cookie towards “targeted advertising”. They can also be considered as spying online and also breach internet privacy policies.


Why will Google ban third party internet cookies?

A decade ago, cookies were used for online consumer tracking and advertising. But the massive use of annoying and repetitive ads drove users toward ad-blocking technologies and hacks that have eroded their overall effectiveness for third party advertisers. Google always aimed to deliver flawless user browsing experience and to live up to it. Justin Schuh, director of Chrome engineering at Google, wrote in a blog post. “Users are demanding greater privacy, including transparency, choice, and control over how their data is used, and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands. After initial dialogue with the web community, we are confident that with continued iteration and feedback, privacy-preserving mechanisms can sustain a healthy, ad-supported web in a way that will render third-party cookies obsolete.”

What does Google plan to do now?
The moto of being achieving third-party internet cookies free user experience is going to be a time-consuming acc process as per Googe. They predict at least two years of continuous monitoring and efforts to reach their goal. This announcement of killing third-party cookies by google was done six months after Google unveiled its “Privacy Sandbox”. 

What is Privacy Sandbox?
It is a set of standards defined to balance Google’s insatiable data cravings keeping in mind end consumer privacy. This ain’t new, Google is responding like all its competitors i.e. Apple and Mozilla, who very long ago began restricting the use of third-party cookies which were tracking you across the internet. 

Google’s sandbox project would adopt browser-based machine learning and other technologies in order to deliver targeted ads without breaching customer privacy rules e.g. by Google’s Federated learning of cohorts (FLoC) methodology. This is a unique way that browsers could enable interest-based advertising on the web, in which the companies who today track the browsing behavior of individuals instead will have to observe the behavior of a cohort (or “flock”) of similar people. Google aims to explore ways in which a browser can group together people with similar browsing habits so that ad tech companies can observe the habits of large groups instead of the activity of individuals. Ad targeting could then be partly based on what group the person falls into.

Browsers would need a way to form clusters that are not only useful but also private. Useful by clustering people with similar enough interests by generating labels suitable for machine learning, and private by designing broad clusters that don’t reveal information that’s too personal. The choice of what ads to show on a web page may typically be based on three broad categories of information: 

•The site or page irrespective of who is reading it.
E.g. Put this ad on web pages about motorcycles.

•General pieces of information about the interests of the person who is going to see the ad.
E.g. Show this ad to Classical Music Lovers.

•Specific previous actions the person has taken on a website or a page.
E.g. Offer a discount on some shoes that you left in a shopping cart.

Summarizing the article, Google’s ultimate aim is to respect customer privacy and also generate a database of consumer browsing habits. Google is striving to maintain this balance and now has started taking corrective steps to reach there. 



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