After a big fine for its advertising cookies, Google tries again to get rid of them. France ordered Google to pay a fine of 150 million euros, earlier this month. Now, the giant announced its second try to replace these snippets.
Advertising cookies’ revenge
Google made a huge fortune out of its cookies. Those snippets of data helped the company target users with ads. And the results were mind-blowing.
Thus, during the last quarter of 2020, the revenues from ads reached $46bn. So, there was no strong enough reason to give up the business as it was. Still, the pressure increased, especially in Europe and the U.S.A.
France watchdog’s most recent fine is just an example of what makes Google struggle with its own technology. The authorities fined it for not making as easy for users to reject cookies as it is to accept them. But besides Google, CNIL also fined other giants. Facebook had to pay 60 million euros.
CNIL mentioned that the users’ consent for cookies is one of the most important things in the EU’s data privacy regulation.
Google tries again, with “baskets”
No wonder that Google is trying again to get rid of advertising cookies, while also attracting companies to buy its ad space. Thus, it announced it is trying once more to help advertisers buy ads, but not based on the tracking cookies. In fact, it tagged its own tracking technology privacy-invasive.
The previous attempt failed, as the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), proved to be less effective than cookies. It should have grouped people into big groups, on the basis of the websites they had previously visited. The biggest problem was that companies could not find out if the users had common interests.
That’s why it brings a new browser system: Topics. This groups users in “baskets.” Advertisers will be able to see up to three baskets per each user. Thus, they may decide if they want to show their ads to a specific user or not.
Product director Vinay Goel explained that Chrome tracks browsing only on those websites that enable Topics. Also, he mentioned that users can turn off the technology or disociate from a topic. Testing will begin within months, he said.
According to its own assessement, the search giant should block tracking cookies by the end of 2023. At least in Chrome. This would block third-party companies from logging on the websites that users visit.
Last November, it had to promise more restrictions on the use of data it collected from Chrome, in the U.K. This came after the authorities decided to ban third-party cookies.
Still, Google has a new problem now. Both advertisers and privacy groups are angry, now. Moreover, the authorities put more pressure than ever to stop targeted advertising.
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