Google Won't Use Alternate Tracking IDs Once Cookies Are Phased Out

In a development sure to generate more angst among many in the digital advertising ecosystem, Google stated today that, when its phase-out of supporting third-party cookies in Chrome is complete next year, it will not seek to replace cookies with other individual identifiers.

Instead, Google will use FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) APIs that group users by interests, without — according to Google —  undermining their privacy.

“We continue to get questions about whether Google will join others in the ad tech industry who plan to replace third-party cookies with alternative user-level identifiers,” David Temkin, Google’s director of product management for ads privacy and trust, wrote in a blog post. “Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.



“If digital advertising doesn't evolve to address the growing concerns people have about their privacy and how their personal identity is being used, we risk the future of the free and open web,” Temkin said. “That’s why last year Chrome announced its intent to remove support for third-party cookies, and why we’ve been working with the broader industry on the Privacy Sandbox to build innovations that protect anonymity while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.” 

While not building alternate identifiers may mean that “other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses — we don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long-term investment,” he added.

“Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.

“People shouldn’t have to accept being tracked across the web in order to get the benefits of relevant advertising. And advertisers don't need to track individual consumers across the web to get the performance benefits of digital advertising. 

“Advances in aggregation, anonymization, on-device processing and other privacy-preserving technologies offer a clear path to replacing individual identifiers. In fact, our latest tests of FLoC show one way to effectively take third-party cookies out of the advertising equation and instead hide individuals within large crowds of people with common interests.

“Chrome intends to make FLoC-based cohorts available for public testing through origin trials with its next release this month, and we expect to begin testing FLoC-based cohorts with advertisers in Google Ads in Q2. 

“Chrome also will offer the first iteration of new user controls in April and will expand on these controls in future releases, as more proposals reach the origin trial stage, and they receive more feedback from end users and the industry.”


3 comments about "Google Won't Use Alternate Tracking IDs Once Cookies Are Phased Out".
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  1. Jonathan May from HorseTV Global, March 3, 2021 at 5:59 p.m.

    So how do they "group" my interests without violating my Privacy?  Seems they already have, now they want to re-package their snooping so we think we all have a clean, virgin-pure slate.  Sell that to your millennial partners in crime.

  2. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, March 3, 2021 at 9:23 p.m.

    Addressing Mr. David Temkin, Google Manager, you have been placing my company into a group called: "Online Gambling" for years. As you may know, Sweepstakes Today LLC is the plaintiff against Google over a number of issues that are very real and legit. Google has not show any "Trust" as you say against my company in a very long time by labeling, putting me in a "Group" that suggest that ST is a "Gambling" website. See you in court.

  3. Thom Kennon from Free Radicals, March 4, 2021 at 7:08 a.m.

    This mob-as-platform has finally reached its ultimate nirvana state of "be as evil as you can" with this end-game power play for owning all access to audiences through their ecosystem of connected service APIs. The only ethical solution for we slave marketers and their agencies is to stop paying them for what will certainly be monopolistically high targeting tariffs and shift to a more organic, first and zero party fueled marketing.

    When they launched Chrome over 12 years ago their product manager warned us this was coming when he wrote, "Chrome is an OS". What they told us this week is that it now makes Alphabet the publisher of record for the western web. This level of criminal cynicism and hubris can only be repaid by a revolution of resistance. It's time for us - aka #EverybodyButGoogle - to fork the commercial web towards the true human + business commons it was meant to be.

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