Google Chrome, the dominant web browser accounting for 63% of web usage, is set to make a significant change starting on January 4, 2023. The browser will begin blocking third-party cookies, which are often used to track users’ online activities and gather personal information. Initially, this block will only affect 1% of users on computers and Android phones, but Google plans to extend it to all Chrome users by the end of 2024.
The move by Google is catching up with rival browsers such as Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Brave, which have been blocking cookies for years. Even Microsoft Edge offers a “strict” privacy setting that blocks cookies. However, Google had been cautious about implementing this change due to concerns about disrupting the online advertising industry, as cookies have both benign uses and privacy concerns.
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has expressed concerns that Chrome’s block on third-party cookies would give Google an unfair advantage in advertising. Nonetheless, Google is working on new tools to replace third-party cookies and assist advertisers while protecting privacy. One such tool, called Topics, is designed to enable targeted advertising without tracking website activity.
Chrome’s block on third-party cookies will undoubtedly have implications for businesses heavily dependent on online advertising. However, Google’s aim is to make the web more private while providing businesses with the necessary tools to succeed online. While Google and other browsers are working on solutions to replace the functionalities of cookies, not all browsers currently support these new tools.
It is important to note that the initial story misstated the start date for Google’s block on third-party cookies. The correct date is January 4, 2023.
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