Google delays Chrome’s blocking of tracking cookies to late 2023

Google has announced today that it is delaying its plans to phase out third-party cookies in the Chrome browser for campaign management, targeting, and measurement to mid-late 2023.

Google said the delay would give publishers, advertisers and regulators more time to adapt to the “new technologies it’s creating” to enable targeted ads after cookies are phased out, providing the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) signs-off on Google’s commitments and updated timeline.

Google delays Chrome’s blocking of tracking cookies to late 2023

“It’s become clear that more time is needed across the ecosystem to get this right,” Google said in its blog post. “This is important to avoid jeopardising the business models of many web publishers which support freely available content.

“By providing privacy-preserving technology, we as an industry can help ensure that cookies are not replaced with alternative forms of individual tracking, and discourage the rise of covert approaches like fingerprinting.”

Google added it’s going to continue to work with the web community to create more private approaches to key areas, including ad measurement, delivering relevant ads and content, and fraud detection.

“Today, Chrome and others have offered more than 30 proposals, and 4 of those proposals are available in origin trials. For Chrome, specifically, our goal is to have the key technologies deployed by late 2022 for the developer community to start adopting them.

“Subject to our engagement with the CMA and in line with the commitments we have offered, Chrome could then phase out third-party cookies over a three month period, starting in mid-2023 and ending in late 2023,” Google added.

The CMA said it was consulting on whether to accept Google’s commitments, and in that context it had been informed of the proposed changes to the timeline, and that if “the commitments are accepted they become legally binding”, promoting competition in digital markets, helping to protect the ability of online publishers to raise money through advertising and safeguarding users’ privacy.

Jonas Jaanimagi, tech lead at The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Australia told Mumbrella IAB supports Google’s decision to delay its plans to phase out third-party cookies, however consumer-led privacy and responsible accountability is crucial for the industry to consider.

Jonas Jaanimagi, Tech Lead at IAB Australia

“IAB support this news, however, even with this new timeline, we can’t underestimate the importance of the ongoing work that the industry must commit to in order to create an addressable future based upon consumer-led privacy and responsible accountability. IAB Australia, working closely with IAB Tech Lab, will continue to focus on building out specifications and standards which can enable digital advertising with predictable and reliable privacy.

“We recommend media and marketing organisations continue to review ongoing updates, work closely with their technology vendors around the proposed stages for deprecation and for a recent full overview of all of the moving parts within Privacy Sandbox (including links to all the specific GitHub repositories) review our member-only blog post.”

Nick Beck, founder and CEO of digital marketing agency, Tug

Nick Beck, founder and CEO of digital marketing agency, Tug told Mumbrella he believes the delay isn’t due to Google giving the industry more time to adapt, but rather making sure they had the time to prepare for its major retooling.

“As an example, testing for FloC, Google’s proposed browser standard that will in its words enable ‘internet-based advertising on the web’ by grouping consumers in anonymous cohorts without letting advertisers know your individual identity, had not taken into account European GDPR standards.

“But the reality is this delay will change nothing in the long-term. Third party cookies were being phased out because they were no longer performing the task they were intended for and because they were not created with privacy in mind.”

Beck added: “The industry has been moving in this direction for a while now and this delay will not stop that. However, the upside is that it will allow more tracking modelling solutions to be tested, which is sure to calm some nerves across the industry.”

James Collier, chief data officer at M&C Saatchi Group AUNZ told Mumbrella: “While some corners of the market might be feeling pretty happy today, we can’t forget that the days of 3P cookies are still numbered.  All the pushback will really achieve is to extend the period of uncertainty and confusion.”



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