Google will not stop tracking users: what will replace cookies?

How did it all start?

In January 2020, Google announced its plans to phase out support

third-party cookies in Chrome over the next two years. By 2022, the browser will take the step that other browsers like Safari and Firefox took many years ago.

The fact that Google will drop support for theseThe cookies that are commonly used to track users on the internet came as no surprise given the company's privacy statements in Chrome. Yet such an aggressive schedule surprised many.

As a result, Google plans to replace third-party cookies with technology developed using the Privacy Sandbox.

What is Privacy Sandbox?

Google's decision to destroy third-party cookieswill affect the business. The fact is that with their help, companies collect and process user data to launch targeted and personalized advertising. That is, the one that suits your interests. Alternatively, Google offers its Privacy Sandbox. The initiative was promised as a way to reduce inappropriate tracking while continuing to allow ad targeting in the Google Chrome browser. But the ad industry is concerned that the offer is just a ruse. On the other hand, users want to know what data companies will receive.

In the future, without cookies, Google wants toad targeting, measurement and fraud prevention were done in accordance with the standards set by its Privacy Sandbox. This replaces cookies with five APIs. Advertisers will use each API to get aggregated data on issues such as conversions (how well their ads are performing) and attribution (which property counts for, say, a purchase). The privacy sandbox is an alternative path that Google offers to the ad industry by relying on anonymous signals (non-cookies) in a person's Chrome browser to benefit from that user's browsing habits.

Will Chrome now stop following users?

In general, the Privacy Sandbox initiative is stillis in its infancy. Therefore, while Google offers many features, there is no real platform or code that marketers can properly evaluate. Here's what we know about each API at the moment. Trust API is an alternative to Google CAPTCHA; it will ask the Chrome user to fill out a CAPTCHA-like program only once, and then rely on anonymous trust tokens to prove in the future that the person is real. The Privacy Budget API limits the amount of data that websites can collect from the Google API by giving each a “budget”. Google's Conversion Measurement API, an alternative to cookies, will allow an advertiser to know if a user has seen their ad and then ultimately bought a product or landed on a promoted page. Cohort federated learning will rely on machine learning to learn browsing habits of groups of similar users.

“The most important element of the sandboxPrivacy is Google's proposal to move all user data to the browser, where it will be stored and processed, ”explained Amit Kotecha, director of marketing for data management platform provider Permutive, in an interview for Digiday. - This means that the data remains on the user's device and complies with the privacy requirements. It's now table betting and the gold standard for privacy. "

But is it?

Users, advertisers and businesses

Following the news that Google would refuse third-party cookies, it was enthusiastically received by many users. But not advertisers.

In recent years, the confrontation between advertisingnetworks and privacy protections have only made matters worse, Securitylab reported. For example, blocking tracking cookies has led to the development of alternative techniques such as browser fingerprinting. Such methods try to identify the user among others based on the special settings and equipment characteristics used.

A new set of standards will enable advertisingcompanies to determine the interests of the user without individual identification. General categories of interests, such as music genre, will be taken into account, but data at the level of the history of visits to specific sites will remain unaffected.

Also, experts suggest to preventindirect identification use the Privacy Budget method. In this technique, the browser only provides a subset of the data that ad networks can use for identification. If the number of calls to the API exceeds the permissible limit and the further issuance of information may lead to a violation of anonymity, then access to certain APIs is blocked.

So what's the problem?

Third party cookies are used by advertisingcompanies to track user behavior on the Internet, create a profile and anticipate their interests based on the sites they visit. This data is used to send you personalized advertisements. Google's third-party cookies are found on millions of websites, providing the company with tons of information about the sites they visit - part of its huge advertising business. However, these days, the public is becoming more aware of privacy issues. In turn, regulators are passing more laws to protect it.

This is where the federal government comes in.cohort-based training (FLoC), which Google says is a privacy-focused advertising technology. With FLoC, Chrome will track the browsing habits of users on different web pages and then place them in different audiences or "cohorts" based on the data. Advertisers will then target their ads to specific cohorts rather than an individual user.

Therefore, if you are looking for a browser that does not collect your data for advertising - as an individual or as part of an anonymous audience - you can try another one.

So Google will still bewill technically serve targeted advertisements to the user, but will do so in a more anonymous way. Google claims that businesses can get almost the same ROI on advertising from FLoC as they can with cookie-based tracking. FLoC is currently being tested with advertisers to see if it can work as a cookie replacement. Ultimately, the system may not work as it should. And yet Google is confident enough of success to declare its cookie opt-out. In addition, the company said it would not replace them with a similar type of individual tracker.

Google will continue to collect datausers, underlines Recod. What you do when you use the company's products such as YouTube and Search - and ads will be targeted based on them. Such data becomes even more valuable to advertisers as third-party sources dry up. This is extremely beneficial for Google, whose platforms are visited by billions of people every day. In fact, the bulk of Google's revenue comes from Search Ads. More specifically, we are talking about more than 50% of all income, according to the latest quarterly report. By the way, search engine advertising brings in more revenue than the company gets from its ad network. It now relies on third-party cookies. And since banning cookies will not affect Google searches, this data-driven revenue stream will continue to flow.

This does not apply to data collected usingGoogle trackers in mobile applications. However, the upcoming Apple iOS 14 update should, in theory, stop app tracking. IPhone users will at least get the new privacy option over the next few months.

Finally, while Google says it is committed todeveloping and using advertising technologies that do not rely on tracking and advertising to users, other companies are developing their own tracking methods without the use of cookies. They can still track you when you are using Chrome (or another browser).

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