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Google delays ban on Chrome third-party trackers its makes billions from

Google has announced it is pushing back a long-promised ban on third-party tracking cookies within its Chrome browser.

Tests of the company’s Privacy Sandbox, which aims to provide privacy-friendly alternatives to the third-party cookies, will continue until the end of 2023. The initiative was first announced in 2019.

That means the tech, which is designed to follow users around the internet in order to serve them with more personalised ads, will be supported by Chrome until at least mid-2024, before the Privacy Sandbox API launches in full.

Considering Google’s rivals – Mozilla’s Firefox browser and Apple’s Safari – have both been blocking these invasive trackers from advertisers for quite some time, it’s not the best look for the ad-focused company.

By the same token, the company needs an alternative to the technology, which helps to generate some of the hundreds of billions of dollars per year in advertising revenue.

One such solution currently in testing is the Topics API which will “enable interest-based advertising, without having to resort to tracking the sites a user visits.”

Part of Google’s efforts are centred on aligning with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regulations on tracking.

In a blog post today, the company wrote: “The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome.

“This feedback aligns with our commitment to the CMA to ensure that the Privacy Sandbox provides effective, privacy-preserving technologies and the industry has sufficient time to adopt these new solutions. This deliberate approach to transitioning from third-party cookies ensures that the web can continue to thrive, without relying on cross-site tracking identifiers or covert techniques like fingerprinting.”

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