Google bids farewell to third-party cookies

Google announced on Tuesday that it plans to stop supporting third-party cookies on its Chrome browser in response to calls for stronger privacy controls. Joining Safari and Firefox, the multinational technology company intends to begin blocking cookies, but will take a phased approach, which is estimated to span over a period of two years. 

In place of cookies, Google plans to create a new set of technical solutions for the various functions that cookies are currently used for. The idea is to make the new advertising process less intrusive for users.

Cookies are small text files that track users movements across the web.

Advertisers and ad networks often add third-party cookies to accurately track page visit and activity in order to target ads.  

Chrome engineering director Justin Schuh wrote in a blog post that Google will phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome once it has figured out how to address the "Needs of users, publishers, and advertisers."

What will this change mean?

The changes coincide with research that suggests many cookie consent popups are not complying with EU privacy laws. 

Schuh went on to write: "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."

Significant change is in the pipeline to reconstruct the way web tracking works. Third-party cookies, which track users by following their movements from site to site have already been banned by Apple, Mozilla and Microsoft.

Websites will still be able to use their own first-party cookies to track its users.

Google’s intention is to find a solution that allows advertising to continue displaying personalised ads, but without users compromising their privacy.

This marks a significant turning point in the world of digital advertising.

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