Google Postpones Blocking 3rd-party Cookies Until Late 2023

24 June 2021

The company has announced that it will not block 3rd-party cookies in its Chrome browser for two more years

Earlier, the giant planned to stop supporting third-party cookies in 2022. Google explained the company needs to find a way to simultaneously protect users and not deprive online publishers of opportunities to earn before blocking 3rd-party cookies.

On June 24, 2021 Google postponed the death of cookie for nearly two years in order to test alternatives that do not violate user privacy, and to give the market ample time to prepare for change.

We need to move at a responsible pace, allowing sufficient time for public discussion on the right solutions and for publishers and the advertising industry to migrate their services,” Chrome Engineering Director Vinay Goel said in a blog post. “This is important to avoid jeopardizing the business models of many web publishers which support freely available content,” said Vinay Goel, Chrome’s director of engineering. 

The company first announced its plan to stop supporting 3rd-party cookies in early 2020, and in March this year warned that it would neither create nor maintain alternative user IDs.

What does “3rd-party cookie” mean

3rd-party cookies are text fragments stored in your browser by a third party, that is, not a website you have visited, but, for example, various advertising systems. These files help publishers, advertisers, and resellers to profile and target users.

Blocking third-party cookies will mean that the advertiser who recorded your data from the tourist website will not be able to show you advertisements for tours or swimsuits on other websites.

How did the attack on cookie begin

The main complaint about 3rd-party cookies is that this tool allows advertisers to collect too much information and thus violates the privacy of the user, as the data gets distributed between different intermediaries. In particular, ad of the same swimsuit can haunt you on almost every website you visit.

In recent years, the United States and the European Union have become increasingly concerned with the user privacy, so Google has decided to get rid of the controversial tool in its browser.

Why Chrome’s decision to block the cookies came as a shock to the market

Until recently, cookies were the main source of user identification and one of the key tools for ad targeting.

Google Chrome currently accounts for 64% of the global browser market and 69% of the Ukrainian market. Two other popular browsers, Firefox and Safari, have already blocked 3rd-party cookies. Therefore, Chrome’s refusal to support this tool will mean the end of advertising targeting with 3rd-party cookies.

According to the programmatic director at Admixer Yaroslav Kholod, this move will result in a loss of up to 50% of advertising revenue for a significant part of publishers.

How Google explains the delay

Silicon Valley giants are finding it increasingly difficult to resist pressure to address the issue of online privacy. Laws such as the GDPR and CCPA restrict the ability to collect and use users’ personal data. Chrome’s main competitors, such as Safari, Firefox, and Brave, are currently blocking ad tracking much more aggressively than Chrome.

Google has explained that blocking 3rd-party cookies too quickly will do more harm to publishers and advertisers than benefit users, and will encourage market players to use more unethical ways of collecting user data, such as fingerprinting technology — it tracks which version you use and the fonts you downloaded.

“Unlike cookies, users cannot clear their fingerprint, and therefore cannot control how their information is collected or used. We don’t think that’s a sustainable long term investment”, Goel told CNET.

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