Google has officially launched a campaign to limit online tracking to 1% of Chrome users.
The Verge reports that Google has started carrying out a significant plan to prevent third-party cookies—which are used by numerous websites to track user activity—on the Chrome browser.
As a result, the search engine behemoth started testing the Tracking Protection feature on roughly 1% of Chrome’s 3 billion users on January 4. By the second half of 2024, Google intends to gradually phase out third-party cookies for all users.
Google will notify users who are arbitrarily chosen to test Tracking Protection when they launch Chrome on a desktop or Android device. The user will be prompted by the browser to temporarily re-enable third-party cookies in order to continue using the website in the event that the new feature causes issues when browsing.
Google has been quietly developing Privacy Sandbox, a cookie substitute that gives advertisers anonymous access to user browsing data, since 2020. Better privacy protection is promised as they promise to implement ads using Google’s APIs. The testing of Topics API and Tracking Protection, two crucial Privacy Sandbox components, gives both advertising companies and security-conscious users hope.
In contrast to other browsers that have adopted a more stringent stance, such as outright prohibiting cross-tracking, Google’s strategy appears to be more accommodating to all parties. On the other hand, privacy advocates and Google’s detractors are skeptical of this cookie replacement technology.
Furthermore, the Tracking Protection feature is being closely observed by regulators, including the Competition and Markets Commission (CMA) of the United Kingdom. The greatest worry is that Google will use this edge to outperform rivals in the advertising sector. In order to address competition concerns, the company stated that it is willing to delay the global deployment plan for Tracking Protection until the second half of 2024.