Announced for the third quarter of 2022, then postponed to 2023, Google once again postpones the end of third-party cookies on Google Chrome to 2024.

Google has been working for several years to replace third-party cookies

Google’s efforts to move away from third-party cookies date back to 2019, when it publicly announced its Privacy Sandbox roadmap. This program aims to define a set of standards to help advertisers deliver personalized advertisements without revealing users’ personal information.

Technically, the purpose of cookies is to help advertisers to follow Internet users in order to know the sites they consult, in order to offer them personalized advertisements. They are also used by sites like Siècle Digital to analyze visits, articles read, etc. However, they are unpopular with many Internet users and relevant authorities, as they can jeopardize data privacy. To try to preserve this confidentiality, Google wants to replace cookies with a token called a trust token, playing a role similar to cookies, but with encryption that hides the identity of an Internet user from advertisers.

In 2018, in parallel with the arrival of the general regulations on the protection of personal data (RGPD), the authorities of the European Union wish to draft a new version of the ePrivacy law. This update particularly concerns cookies and reinforces Google’s position in its desire to put an end to third-party cookies on its browser.

Google prefers to take its time to satisfy advertisers and Internet users

In a blog post, Anthony Chavez, vice president of Google Privacy Sandbox, announced that the company is targeting the second half of 2024 to officially roll out the alternative to third-party cookies on Google Chrome, and thereby permanently delete them. “We worked closely to refine our design proposals based on input from developers, publishers, marketers, and regulators via forums.”

He adds that “the most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test new technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome.” In 2021, Google was ready to test its new feature to replace cookies.

Unlike the successor to Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, or browsers such as Safari or Mozilla Firefox, which have chosen to simply block cookies without offering an alternative, Google wishes to create a balance in the confidentiality of data and desires of advertisers. Unlike its competitors, the company’s turnover is largely driven by advertising, which partly explains the efforts made by Google to replace third-party cookies.

Google once again postpones phasing out third-party cookies from Chrome

On Wednesday, Google announced that it won’t delete third-party cookies until the second half of 2023. The company has pushed back on that deletion time and time again. She planned to replace them with the Privacy Sandbox initiative. Moreover, its implementation was to begin this year.

Only, after review by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the US Department of Justice, Google pushed back the end of support for cookies from last year to mid-2023. And now society is delaying it once again. She also tried to provide several explanations for this repeated pushback.

Why is Google still postponing this deadline?

Anthony Chavez, vice president of Google’s Privacy Sandbox, said the decision was based on feedback the company received. Apparently users needed more time to evaluate and test new privacy sandbox technologies, and that’s why the company wasn’t removing third-party cookies from Chrome yet.

Chavez also said the move aligns perfectly with their commitment to the CMA. Indeed, the latter wanted the Privacy Sandbox to provide effective technologies that preserve privacy and that the technology industry has enough time to adapt to these new measures.

What is Privacy Sandbox?

Google revealed its Privacy Sandbox initiative in 2019. The company hopes to officially launch the Privacy Sandbox APIs by the end of the third quarter of next year. But first, it will expand the trial to “millions of users worldwide by early next month.” The company also plans to have more and more people gradually gain access to this trial throughout this year and the next.

The API will closely track your interests and preferences. Its operation is quite simple: as soon as the user visits a site that supports the API, Chrome will bring up three random topics that will interest him.

Google postpones the end of third-party cookies in Chrome to 2024

The Privacy Sandbox is Google’s initiative to replace third-party cookies (along with cross-site tracking IDs, browser fingerprinting, and other secret techniques) once privacy-friendly alternatives are in place. Since then, Google has been working on new technologies and more recently released trials in Chrome for developers to test.

“We worked closely to refine our design proposals based on feedback from developers, publishers, marketers, and regulators via forums,” Google says. “The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test new (…) technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome.” Indeed, some advertisers are afraid of what will happen and are asking for more time.

We will therefore have to wait until the second half of 2024 to see the end of third-party cookies in Chrome… unless Google announces another postponement. In the meantime, the group says its trials with the Privacy Sandbox will expand to millions of users worldwide starting in August. As the months pass, the number of testers will increase.

Google expects to release the Privacy Sandbox APIs in Q3 2023 with a Chrome update.

New postponement for the end of cookies in Chrome, now set for 2024

Google will eventually resume cookies. The search engine will postpone until mid-2024 the end of third-party cookies in its Chrome browser, which will not be a first. The end of the trackers was already due to take place at the end of 2021, before giving the advertising industry two years to adapt.

This new deadline will allow more time for advertisers, publishers and the entire online advertising industry to test the Privacy Sandbox technologies developed by Google to replace cookies. One of the main measures is a system called Topics: the browser recognizes themes (“topics”, therefore) representative of the centers of interest of the Internet user and these themes are then used to determine the advertisements to be displayed.

The search engine has a lot of pedagogy to do to impose its solution, advertisers fear that it will end up giving Google a competitive advantage. Moreover, Amazon is blocking the experiment in progress, certainly to protect the data that the company collects from its customers.

Google postpones deleting cookies from Chrome to 2024

Why it matters: Google has long been working on a cookie alternative that splits the difference between user privacy and ad revenue. However, the company needs more time before fully replacing third-party cookies in Chrome. Fortunately, public testing of Google’s new initiative will begin soon.

On Tuesday, Google announced it was pushing back its plans to eliminate third-party cookies in Chrome by two years because the feature isn’t ready. However, users can start testing this alternative for themselves next month.

Cookies help advertisers track users and deliver personalized ads, but they are unpopular because they can compromise user privacy. European anti-cookie legislation is behind all of these consent prompts seen on many websites. In 2020, Google announced it was working on a solution that would make third-party cookies obsolete, initially hoping to achieve that goal in two years. Although he missed that deadline, the company is not giving up.