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Google to Test New Feature on Chrome Browser

CIO Insider Team | Friday, 15 December, 2023

As part of a proposal to ban third-party cookies, which advertisers use to track customers, Alphabet's Google announced that it will start testing a new feature on its Chrome browser.

On January 4, the world's largest search engine is scheduled to launch Tracking Protection, a feature that will by default prevent cross-site tracking for one percent of Chrome users worldwide.

In the second half of 2024, Google intends to fully phase out the use of third-party cookies for users.

Google stated that the timing is contingent on resolving antitrust concerns brought up by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of the UK.

The CMA has been looking at Google's proposal to stop supporting specific cookies in Chrome as the watchdog is concerned that this could limit competition in the digital advertising space and raise concerns about the company's primary source of revenue, which is advertising.

Cookies are unique files that let websites and advertising follow the surfing patterns of certain users and identify them.

In June, Margrethe Vestager, the head of EU antitrust, also declared that the agency will keep looking at Google's deployment of tools to prevent third-party cookies as part of the company's "Privacy Sandbox" program.

In the second half of 2024, Google intends to fully phase out the use of third-party cookies for users.

Advertisers claim that the removal of cookies from the most widely used browser in the world will restrict their capacity to gather data for customized advertisements and force them to rely more on Google's user databases.

Third-party cookies will be blocked by default for Chrome users taking part in the test as they browse the web. The user will be prompted to temporarily re-enable third-party cookie functionality from the website if the browser detects that they are experiencing problems with it.

Since Google was negotiating a substitute for anonymized audience tracking with digital advertisers and technology vendors, it decided to delay the deprecation of third-party cookies from August 2022 to the second half of 2024.

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