Google plans to end support for third-party cooking in a bid to improve user privacy while still keeping publishers happy. It will take a couple of years to make third-party cookies and cross-website tracking obsolete, but the first steps have already been taken.
Third-party cookies are one way websites track users and their online activity. They serve various roles, including delivering dedicated ads or details about the credentials. For example, if you ever looked for a product online, you will notice that websites will display ads for that particular product wherever you go.
Some existing Internet browsers such as Firefox already allow users to block third-party cookies and website trackers. But the problem needs to be fixed at a more fundamental level, and the best way to do that is to force websites to phase out these types of cookies. When Google Chrome developers stop supporting them, websites will have to comply.
“Chrome will limit insecure cross-site tracking starting in February, by treating cookies that don’t include a SameSite label as first-party only, and require cookies labeled for third-party use to be accessed over HTTPS,” said Google Chrome developers.
“This will make third-party cookies more secure and give users more precise browser cookie controls. At the same time, we’re developing techniques to detect and mitigate covert tracking and workarounds by launching new anti-fingerprinting measures to discourage these kinds of deceptive and intrusive techniques, and we hope to launch these measures later this year.”
Another side effect of using tracking and third-party cookies is something called “fingerprinting.” Websites can amass a large quantity of data on a particular user, creating a buyer profile that can be easily used.
It’s a significant problem for Google to solve, but if they are successful, it would radically change how ads are served and how users can control their personal data.