Google phases out user-tracking 'cookies'

WION Web Team
San Francisco, United States of America Published: Feb 07, 2021, 04:49 PM(IST)

Google Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The downside of employing these cookies has been that they have raised the hackles of privacy defenders. The US internet giant has been hammered by critics over user privacy, and is keenly aware of trends for legislation protecting people's data rights.

Google is phasing out user-tracking "cookies" which allow the web giant to deliver personalised ads.

The downside of employing these cookies has been that they have raised the hackles of privacy defenders. The US internet giant has been hammered by critics over user privacy, and is keenly aware of trends for legislation protecting people's data rights.

Google, only last month, unveiled the results of tests showing an alternative to the longstanding tracking practice, claiming it could improve online privacy while still enabling advertisers to serve up relevant messages.

"This approach effectively hides individuals 'in the crowd' and uses on-device processing to keep a person’s web history private on the browser," Google product manager Chetna Bindra explained in unveiling the system called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC).

She added, "Results indicate that when it comes to generating interest-based audiences, FLoC can provide an effective replacement signal for third-party cookies."

Google plans to begin testing the FLoC approach with advertisers later this year with its Chrome browser.

Talking of privacy issues, some kinds of cookies -- which are text files stored when a user visits a website -- are a convenience for logins and browsing at frequently visited sites.

Anyone who has pulled up a registration page online only to have their name and address automatically entered where required has cookies to thank. But other kinds of cookies, especially the third-party ones, are seen by some as nefarious.

Safari and Firefox browsers have already done away with third-party cookies, but they are still used at the world's most popular browser - Chrome.

And Chrome accounted for 63 per cent of the global browser market last year, according to StatCounter.

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