Google has mapped out a new timeline for the introduction of its ‘Privacy Sandbox’. The technology, which is expected to be rolled out by the end of 2023, would mean the end of third-party tracking cookies. In the new timeline, Google sets out periods for discussion, testing and implementation in Chrome. After that, support for third party cookies will be phased out.
Particularly striking here is the ‘discussion period’ surrounding FLoC. It expires in November of this year. The technology that Google is pushing forward to replace cookies with third parties is not without controversy. It was rejected by the Technical Architecture Group of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), among others, and raised questions with the United States cartel watchdog.
Also, just about every browser outside of Chrome has already indicated that it does not want to get involved with FLoC. Google says that the data that is indicated is not yet fixed but does not seem to renounce the technology, at the most to adapt it.
Discussions around the different technologies will be held in a Web Incubator Community Group of W3C. In the case of FLoC, it’s about how you send ads to people you’re no longer allowed to track. Google, the world’s largest advertising company, benefits from making that possible anyway and is introducing ‘Federated Learning of Cohorts’, which put people into groups based on their interests, something privacy activists say may be worse than the current system.
A second technology that Google wants to discuss by November is FLEDGE, a system for auctioning advertisements. That technology has a competitor in Microsoft’s PARAKEET. The discussion could get heated, as Microsoft’s dissatisfaction with Google’s ad auctions could be one of the reasons for the end of a ceasefire between the two tech companies. Google already says that W3C won’t have the last word in these discussions and that it’s up to each browser to choose the technologies it wants to support.