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Google confirms end of cookies for 2022

March 17, 2021

Google confirms end of cookies for 2022

Google has confirmed it will ban tracking cookies on its Chrome browser by 2022, with plans to replace the service with a new ‘profiling’ solution for advertisers.

Google has confirmed it will ban tracking cookies on its Chrome browser by 2022, with plans to replace the service with a new ‘profiling’ solution for advertisers.

The move follows similar cookie bans on Apple’s ‘Safari’ and Mozilla’s ‘Firefox’ browsers and comes as governments worldwide (notably in the European Union) look to tighten privacy laws.

The decision is also notable as Google’s Chrome browser accounts for two-thirds of the web browser market.

Given the considerable scale of Chrome’s user base, the ban is expected to have a big impact on digital advertisers who rely on cookie data to provide targeted content to prospective consumers.

To fill the void left by the cookie ban, Google will offer a ‘profiling’ service which will place internet users into ‘cohorts’ with shared interests which advertisers can use to market to on a group rather than individual level.

David Temkin – Google’s director of product management, ads privacy and trust – said the ban is a response to the decreasing trust consumers have in the way their data is being collected and used.

“People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order to get the benefits of relevant advertising,” he said.

“And advertisers don’t need to track individual consumers across the web to get the performance benefits of digital advertising.”

Questions remain about benefits of the ban

De Montfort University professor of cybersecurity Eerke Boiten cautioned however that the shift to profiling brings with it its own unique set of privacy challenges.

Professor Boiten noted that profiling of this nature relies on machine-learning algorithms which typically reinforce real-world biases, including racism.

Google is also likely to prefer smaller cohorts to larger ones (as bigger groups reduce the accuracy of targeted advertising), despite concerns smaller cohorts will make it easier to identify individual consumers.

While the changes may not greatly improve privacy outcomes for Chrome users, the shift will give Google an even greater competitive advantage over rival AdTech companies by restricting their access to data and adding a new service to the tech giant’s arsenal.

“Beneath the gloss of Google’s press releases, the shift from tracking to profiling raises a number of new privacy and discrimination concerns,” he said.

“Ostensibly a move to boost individual privacy, Chrome’s new system ultimately looks set to benefit Google.

Google’s ‘other’ ban

Last month, Google came under fire after threatening to ban its search function entirely across Australia, in response to the Australian Federal Government’s proposed media bargaining code.

This code would force online platforms like Google and Facebook to share its profits with selected news publishers.

The threat however backfired, according to research from data analytics firm Pureprofile.

A nationally-representative survey conducted by the business found Australian consumers were more supportive of the media bargaining code in the wake of the tech giant’s threats.

Martin Filz, CEO of Pureprofile, noted consumers have become increasingly wary of tech companies in the wake of numerous scandals involving the misuse of data.

“People are worried about their privacy. They’re worried that Facebook, Google and Twitter are being used for purposes of propaganda and fake news in things like the US election,” he told Australian Financial Review.

“So when Google says ‘We’ll pull the search engine’, the population says ‘Well go on then.’ There is a general backlash at the moment regarding Big Tech, and Google has been caught out a little bit by the Australian population,” Mr Filz added.

The rise of first party declared data 

Rather than relying on third party cookie data, Pureprofile collects ‘first-party declared’ data – data willingly volunteered by consumers – through its own platform.

And Mr Filz says this is the kind of data advertisers want right now, as it addresses concerns around privacy and accuracy, while also providing valuable insights into who consumers are and what they are interested in.

“Technology is really going to start delivering insights, and if so, a brand will have insights to deliver an ad or a piece of content,” he said.

 

If you would like to stay updated on Pureprofile news and updates, please register your interest on their Investor Centre.

Reach Markets have been engaged by PPL to help manage their investor communications.

 

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