In a recent announcement, Google has revealed that its Privacy Sandbox is set to supersede third-party cookies with a more efficient approach.
Soon, 1% of Chrome users will be migrated to Privacy Sandbox, and the company will disable third-party cookies for them. According to Google, they will be able to roll out this new practice by early 2024.
The initiative will work as a significant pilot test and will help the tech giant to abandon the use of controversial tracking tools.
Google’s Victor Wong, the product lead for private advertising technology, Privacy Sandbox, says that this new update will help developers analyze their flexibility to embrace the greater changes expected to kick in by late 2024.
To help developers get accustomed to this new roll-out, the company will enable them to simulate their third-party cookie deprecation acceptability by Q4 2023.
When talking about the plan, Wong further explained that Google worked closely with the UK’s competition and market authority when developing the plan.
After a detailed consultation, the tech giant realized that testing the solution could be the best way to analyze its acceptability. Thus, it has decided to launch some tests in Q4 2023, followed by more in Q1 2024.
Google expects that the launch of Chrome 115 will allow most ad-tech developers to test their solutions without affecting scalability.
In the given scenario, the Privacy Sandbox features, like Attribution Reporting, Protected Audience, and the Topics API, will be secured and made non-adjustable.
Once Google completes the testing, it will take it directly to 100% without setting any other milestones in between.
While Privacy Sandbox trials are already available on Chrome today, testing the new APIs at a scale will definitely render a different experience.
Wong also says that Google receives requests for more scaled availability because, these days, Sandbox is available to only a few users.
Google has taken this request seriously. Thus, it’s going to roll out vigorous testing to scale the solution up.
Wong, however, maintains that Google currently doesn’t have any strategies in place to incrementally increase the proposed 1% figure throughout this year.
The Commencement to the Initiative
The scheduled implementation of the Privacy Sandbox initiative came out in 2019. The program’s aim is to develop a set of open standards to enhance privacy on the web while continuing to support publishers.
Disabling third-party cookies for a small fraction of users is a tangible move toward realizing this ambitious initiative.
It is expected that the initial testing will help Google develop an idea about the features’ overall impact on the broader digital advertising ecosystem.
Over the years, third-party cookies have attracted substantial criticism. Several privacy advocates have argued they are invasive and infringe on individuals’ privacy rights.
There are claims that these cookies collect user data across different websites, forming a profile of users’ online behavior and preferences subsequently used for targeted advertising. Industry experts are guessing that Google’s new move will serve as a dedicated response to the said criticism.
There are still concerns that removing third-party cookies may disrupt the data-dependent ad-tech industry.
The tech giant, however, seems to have recognized these challenges. Thus, it has planned a gradual phase-out process to prevent drastic disruptions to the ad ecosystem.