Google Delays Ad-Tracking Phase Out

It needs more time to develop a replacement system.

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LONDON (AP) — Google says it's delaying plans to phase out Chrome browser technology that tracks users for ad purposes because it needs more time to develop a replacement system.

The tech giant said Thursday that proposals to remove so-called third-party cookies will be pushed back to late 2023, nearly two years later than planned.

“We need to move at a responsible pace, allowing sufficient time for public discussion on the right solutions and for publishers and the advertising industry to migrate their services,” Vinay Goel, the director of privacy engineering for Chrome, said in a blog post.

Third-party cookies are snippets of code that log user info and are used by advertisers to more effectively target their campaigns, thereby helping fund free online content such as newspapers and blogs. However, they’ve also been a longstanding source of privacy concerns because they can be used to track users across the internet.

Google is retiring third-party cookies as it overhauls Chrome to tighten privacy, but the proposals have shaken up the online advertising industry, raising fears that replacement technology will leave even less room for online ad rivals. European Union and British regulators have been investigating Google's plans, known as Privacy Sandbox. To resolve the U.K. probe, the company has offered the country's competition watchdog a role overseeing the cookie phaseout.

Goel said Google aims to have the new technology available by the end of 2022 for developers to start adopting, which would allow third-party cookies to be phased out of Chrome over three months “ending in late 2023.”

One of the leading ideas to replace third-party cookies is a technique that hides users in large online groups based on their interests while keeping web browsing histories on devices to maintain privacy.

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