Google announces plans to discard Chrome's third-party tracking through cookies over the next 2 years

Justin Schuh, Engineering Director of Google Chrome, took to Twitter to announce the plan.

Google announced that it is putting an end to the tracking of third-party cookies on Google Chrome, which is the tech giant's largest technology used for targeted advertising. This move comes after Apple discarded it many years ago and as a response to the current heat around the future of user privacy and prospective cyber threats.

According to Statista, Google's flagship product in web browsing Google Chrome has captured a market share of 63.62 percent in the web browsing category across the world as of September 2019. Apple's browser Safari stands at 17.68 percent while Mozilla Firefox captures 4.39 percent.

Cookies are essentially pieces of data that a user's device and her web browser store internally after she browses through a website. Assuming that a user browses through Amazon on a web browser, the website leaves traces of data like the items in the cart, login credentials, pages visited, items viewed, etc. These traces left by Amazon are called first-party cookies, which are a reflection of how the website tracks the users.

Third-party cookies are those generated by another player that is not the website browsed or the user herself, but advertisers who promote their companies and products through ads on the webpage. Most users tend to overlook these advertisements, yet get traced and tracked by the advertisers, who in turn generate a user profile. This profile will have the user's entire browsing history, which gives the advertisers a leverage to target the user with the products they might like to explore.

This kind of targeted marketing leaves advertisers with a high probability of getting clicks on these ads and the eventual purchase of the products they feature, while marking the users as potential leads.

While one might think Google made the move to amplify its market share and move far ahead of the other players like Safari, Firefox and UC Browser, reports suggest that the move comes more as an answer to the privacy concerns. In August last year, a new initiative called Privacy Sandbox was launched by Google to develop a set of open standards to enhance fundamental privacy on the web. The goal was to make the web more private and secure for users, while also supporting publishers.

The company said,

"We are following the web standards process and seeking industry feedback on our initial ideas for the Privacy Sandbox. While Chrome can take action quickly in some areas (for instance, restrictions on fingerprinting) developing web standards is a complex process, and we know from experience that ecosystem changes of this scope take time. They require significant thought, debate, and input from many stakeholders, and generally take multiple years."