Google is reportedly prepping an Internet tracking system that would ditch third-party cookies in Chrome and require advertisers to tap into its own system for marketing purposes.
As reported by USA Today, the Google-developed option - known as AdID - would replace the cookies that have been the go-to tracking system on browsers for ages with a system that requires ad networks to adhere to specific guidelines in order to get their hands on Chrome data.
Google's move would put it in line with Apple, which blocks third-party cookies by default on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Macs. Ironically, Google recently got into hot water amidst accusations that it and three other ad networks side-stepped Safari's privacy settings to track usage on iPhones and Macs without permission. Ultimately, Google reached a $22.5 million (£14 million) settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over the issue.
According to USA Today, Google's system would provide users with more control over how advertisers track their activity on Chrome. But ad networks will likely be concerned that Google and Apple have so much control over the data, the paper said.
Google has not yet made any announcements; it reportedly wants to talk with insiders and other stakeholders before going public.
Cookies are little bits of data collected about your Internet activity. They can be useful — like remembering passwords and settings on sites that you surf frequently. But as more and more aspects of our lives are carried out online, there are concerns about targeted advertising and how much data is really collected.
That concern has prompted browser makers to add "do not track" technology that gives users better control over how their Internet activity is monitored. Microsoft irked advertisers when it decided to turn "do not track" on by default in IE10.
Mozilla is planning to do the same with Firefox, but has delayed a rollout as it works to come up with the best solution.