Google last month said its Chrome web browser, the most popular gateway to the internet, will phase out a technology to track people's web surfing
habits. The announcement has worried ad-tech companies that rely on the technology
for ad targeting, while publishers may reap the benefits.
In two years, Chrone will block third-party cookies, the small data files that web browsers collect like digital burrs as
internet users traipse through web pages. Google may extend the deadline if media, marketing and tech companies can't devise another way to track audiences, while also giving them better privacy
There are other ways to identify internet users based on the information a web browser sends out when it requests a web page.
By compiling the internet
protocol address, browser version, monitor resolution and computer specifications, it's possible to create a digital profile of an internet user. But that's another story.
While third-party cookies will be limited, publishers can still use their own cookies to tell when readers make a return visit. First-party cookies help to automate logins and track movements
within a website.
Publishers can also collect more opt-in information about readers who set up online profiles or provide answers to occasional surveys. That information helps
identify people open to seeing more ads about products or services, or perhaps receiving emailed promotions.
When collecting the information, it's always important to be
transparent about how the information will be used — and let readers remain in control of their personal data. Having established a connection with readers built on trust, publishers should do
everything they can to protect those relationships.