Following similar initiatives from Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari, Google is looking to stop supporting third-party cookies in its Chrome browser.
Unlike its competitors, Google will take a phased approach lasting roughly two years, as opposed to cutting support abruptly.
The support for third-party cookies will be replaced by a swathe of new solutions and technologies, which should still allow functions such as logging in, but will improve user privacy and not hurt publisher revenues. Advertisers will still be able to target different demographics, but they won't be able to target specific individuals.
The technology world sees this as the first step towards a “radical shift” in the way ad tracking and privacy work. There’s also a possibility this will give rise to entirely new means of tracking, but that remains to be seen.
“This is our strategy to re-architect the standards of the web, to make it privacy-preserving by default,” engineering director for Chrome Justin Schuh told TechCrunch. “There’s been a lot of focus around third-party cookies, and that certainly is one of the tracking mechanisms, but that’s just a tracking mechanism and we’re calling it out because it’s the one that people are paying attention to.”
Preventing fingerprinting seems to be another thing Google is laser focused on. The Verge believes that’s why Google isn’t willing to cut support with immediate effect, which would just “encourage bad actors to switch to harder-to-stop fingerprinting methods.”