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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Google’s Third -Party Cookies Might Be Done Away With, But Is Consumer Privacy Foolproof?

On Wednesday, Google had a major announcement to make- it was doing away with its third-party cookies. And while it is unsure as to how far this would go, the Chrome browser, as well as Google’s ad networks, will be devoid of this. Before you get all excited about this news, you need to realize that although this seems to be a step in the right direction, it doesn’t mean that you are not being tracked anymore.

Your privacy is still a flimsy hut. Lack of Google cookies doesn’t, in any way, imply that the search engine will absolutely stop using or tracking your data to create targeted ads. 

What Is The Third-Party Cookie Feature Of Google All About?

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For the uninitiated, Google is actually trying to stop its procedure of selling web ads that are targeted towards the browsing habits of individual users. This also implies that its browser would no longer allow cookies to collect the data of users. Most of the ad companies these days rely heavily on Google cookies, but now they would have to look for different ways to target their users.

Here, Google seems to be on the rise as it has already found a way to deal with this issue. As of now, the search engine will still look towards tracking and targeting users that use Google from their mobile devices. Also, they would be targeting their ads solely based on customer behavior. This implies that the removal of third-party cookies might affect other companies- Google not so much.

Google
Google

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If we think that this is something that came out of the blue, we would be wrong- for Google has been thinking about this for quite some time now. They had already brought out its Privacy Sandbox a couple of years back- which is simply a way of personalizing the web ads using customer behavior- and protecting customer privacy at the same time.

In 2020, Google had announced that they would aim towards blocking most of the third-party cookies on their browser by 2022. It is interesting to note that while Google has been bringing this decision into its folds now, most of the other search engines have already done that. Google has major plans of replacing the cookies with a technology developed solely through the Privacy Sandbox. 

Is The Privacy Sandbox A Solid Replacement For Google’s Previous Tracking Method?

Most of the third-party cookies have always been used by ad companies in order to track you throughout your internet journey. The cookies keep building your profile by keeping close track of your internet footsteps and interests. Depending on what your behavior is, or what sites you frequent, they provide you with ads. These cookies are everywhere, as close to a million websites use this cookie to determine consumer expectations.

The problem is simple- when a third-party cookie shares your information with the ad business, they are chipping at your privacy. And this is pretty problematic, as both the public and regulators have been setting up privacy laws that would look to protecting the privacy of the people. 

 With so many issues around the corner for Google, they brought their Federated Learning of Cohorts which spoke about how Google has always been a company that looks towards protecting the interests of the people. Using this feature, Chrome browser would start keeping track of the browsing habits of a user- after which they would be putting the users in several audiences which would depend on the ad company.

This is where most of the advertisers come in- they target the audience as a whole, rather than focusing on any one individual user. In the event that you are actually looking for any browser or search engine which has no possibility of tracking your data or putting you through different audiences and cohorts- you need to try out another search engine. 

How Far Is Google’s Privacy Feature Reassuring?

You must have understood by now that Google is definitely going to still provide you with targeted ads, but they would be less creepy than their previous way, along with being completely anonymous. The search engine, on their part, has claimed that most of the advertisers would not be losing out on anything if they try out the FLoC.

As of now, the company has decided to bring out this newest technology simply as a tester. There is a possibility that this might just not work at the end of it, but Google is confident enough to not go back to third-party cookies in case this doesn’t work.

Google
Google

According to Recode, the way Google is going to go through its ad structure is pretty straightforward. First, they would be collecting your data first-hand. This means that they would be looking towards how you use a particular product through YouTube and other options. This is how your ads would be targeted towards you. And in any way, it would be highly useful for other ad companies to look into your first-hand data, for third-party data will soon dry up.

As far as Google is concerned, they would have a booming business on their hands as they will get billions of hits every single day. According to several reports, most of this search engine’s revenue is through Google Search ads. Interestingly, they make more money through this process rather than relying on third-party cookies. And since they won’ be affected by the ban on third-party cookies conveniently, they would have absolutely no issue with the revenue stream which will flow continuously. 

But remember, such a ban doesn’t apply to any form of data that would be collected through the trackers placed by the company on several of its mobile apps. With that being said, the upcoming update on the Apple iOS14 would aim at stopping this tracking that takes place through multiple apps. This implies that most iPhone users would have the option of privacy in the coming few months. 

In the end, it can be said that Google’s plans are not foolproof to its development. For, while they are definitely committed to their development while using ad tech that would not be relying on user advertisement or tracking, there are other companies who are working on bringing out their own tracking methods which wouldn’t use cookies. Incidentally, you could still be tracked by these companies when you use a browser. But as far as Google is concerned, they would be doing away with their individual tracking game. 

The reason for banning its third-party cookies is pretty simple- no one wants it. Google doesn’t need it, its consumers wouldn’t want it, and the legislation might soon outlaw it. 

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