Google delays third-party cookie phase-out, Privacy Sandbox roll-out to 2023

The tech giant said that the Privacy Sandbox initiative needs more time to get it right

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jun 25, 2021 7:01 AM
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Google has delayed the process to phase out third-party cookies from Chrome and deploy the Privacy Sandbox initiative by two years to end-2023, Chrome Privacy Engineering Director Vinay Goel said in a blog post. The tech giant said that the Privacy Sandbox initiative needs more time to get it right.

Earlier, Google had announced that it will block tracking cookies on its Chrome browser by 2022.

The Privacy Sandbox initiative aims to create web technologies that both protect people’s privacy online and give companies and developers the tools to build thriving digital businesses to keep the web open and accessible to everyone, now, and for the future. The Privacy Sandbox is a series of proposals to satisfy cross-site use cases without third-party cookies or other tracking mechanisms.

"To make this happen, we believe the web community needs to come together to develop a set of open standards to fundamentally enhance privacy on the web, giving people more transparency and greater control over how their data is used. In order to do this, we need to move at a responsible pace," Goel said.

The company contended that the Privacy Sandbox initiative must not be implemented too fast, as it has major repercussions for the publishers. "This will allow sufficient time for public discussion on the right solutions, continued engagement with regulators, and for publishers and the advertising industry to migrate their services. This is important to avoid jeopardizing the business models of many web publishers, which support freely available content. And by providing privacy-preserving technology, we as an industry can help ensure that cookies are not replaced with alternative forms of individual tracking, and discourage the rise of covert approaches like fingerprinting."

Chrome will work with the web community to create more private approaches to key areas, including admeasurement, delivering relevant ads and content, and fraud detection. "For Chrome, specifically, our goal is to have the key technologies deployed by late 2022 for the developer community to start adopting them. Subject to our engagement with the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and in line with the commitments we have offered, Chrome could then phase out third-party cookies over a three-month period, starting in mid-2023 and ending in late 2023," Goel noted.

The Privacy Sandbox will go through a three-phase process - Discussion, Testing, and Ready for Adoption - before it is implemented.

Discussion: The technologies and their prototypes are discussed in forums like GitHub or W3C groups.

Testing: The technologies are rigorously tested in Chrome through potentially numerous origin trials, allowing for transparency and feedback throughout. For example, we received substantial feedback from the web community during the origin trial for the first version of FLoC. We plan to conclude this origin trial in the coming weeks and incorporate input, before advancing to further ecosystem testing.

Ready for adoption: Once the development process is complete, the successful technologies are ready to be used at scale. They will be launched in Chrome and ready for scaled use across the web.

Once the Privacy Sandbox initiative is ready for adoption, Chrome will phase out support for third party cookies in two stages. In Stage 1 starting late-2022, once testing is complete and APIs are launched in Chrome, it will announce the start of stage 1. During stage 1, publishers and the advertising industry will have time to migrate their services. We expect this stage to last for nine months, and we will monitor adoption and feedback carefully before moving to stage 2. The stage 2 starting mid-2023 will see Chrome phasing out support for third-party cookies over a three-month period, finishing in late 2023.

Chrome will soon provide a more detailed schedule on privacysandbox.com, where it will be updated regularly to provide greater clarity and ensure that developers and publishers can plan their testing and migration schedules.

"Along with progress on developing alternatives to third-party cookies, we continue to advance another key Privacy Sandbox goal to combat covert tracking like device fingerprinting. For instance, last month we published an update on our plans for User Agent string reduction, a project which aims to reduce the possibility of using this data to fingerprint and track users across the web," he stated.

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