Google updated its timeline for removing support for third-party cookies within its Chrome browser in a recent blog post. The update pushes the support until at least mid-2023, with a gradual phase-out happening over the following months, and full support will be dropped by the end of 2023.
The announcement comes as a welcome change, giving marketers and privacy advocates more time to find an acceptable alternative to third-party cookies that will both protect consumer privacy and provide valuable marketing data that support a variety of digital marketing products.
Over the last several months, Google and others have encountered criticism over the actual privacy protections offered by the alternatives to cookie trackers like Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) and the open-source UID2.
In a statement, Google explained their reasoning behind the extension:
In order to do this, we need to move at a responsible pace. This will allow sufficient time for public discussion on the right solutions, continued engagement with regulators, and for publishers and the advertising industry to migrate their services. This is important to avoid jeopardizing the business models of many web publishers which support freely available content. And by providing privacy-preserving technology, we as an industry can help ensure that cookies are not replaced with alternative forms of individual tracking, and discourage the rise of covert approaches like fingerprinting.Vinay Goel, Privacy Engineering Director for Chrome, An updated timeline for Privacy Sandbox milestones
Whether Google received pressure from its advertising partners to change the date is unclear, although what is clear is that Google hopes to make everyone happy—consumers and advertisers. That may not be possible, considering that other browsers have already dropped cookie support, and Apple has changed how their phones share data with apps. And with recent government moves to investigate how invasive ad tech really is, these tools are coming under greater scrutiny.