Google has pushed back its self-imposed deadline of the end of 2023 for the deprecation of third-party cookies. It will now “begin” to phase them out in the second half of 2024. “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,” wrote Anthony Chavez, VP of Google’s Privacy Sandbox in a blog post.
In June 2021, Google moved the deadline back from 2022 to 2023. In January 2022, it abandoned its highest profile alternative to cookies, FLoC, and turned to targeting by Topics.
“Developers can already test these APIs today, and beginning in early August, the Privacy Sandbox trials will expand to millions of users globally, and we’ll gradually increase the trial population throughout the rest of the year and into 2023,” wrote Chavez.
The future of addressability. The marketing and advertising industries — and specifically agencies and identity resolution platforms — have spent over two years wrestling with the question of the future of addressable advertising once the last major browser blocks brands’ ability to track and interpret online behavior.
Possible solutions have ranged from enhanced contextual advertising to leveraging third-party data, and a growing number of identity resolution platforms have proposed alternative identifiers and embarked on the fraught path of trying to make them interoperable. The IAB CEO has decried the industries’ incremental and fragmented response as a “slow-motion train wreck.”
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Why we care. Firefox and Safari blocked third-party cookies years ago. Why is the deprecation of cookies in Chrome so important and why is Google struggling to get it done? The answers to those two questions are intertwined. First, Chrome accounts for well over 50% of the global browser market and hosts more than half the world’s internet traffic. Second, Google, unlike Apple, has a massive advertising business (Firefox is owned by a non-profit foundation).
The last thing Google wants is to conjure a catastrophe for advertisers by turning the biggest browser in the world into a black hole. Bad results for brands would ultimately mean damage in some degree to Google’s business model. Apple had no hesitation in turning apps into black holes on the iPhone (sorry, not sorry Facebook). Google has skin in the game; which is why it’s taking its own sweet time.
Dig deeper: The post-cookie path to personalized advertising