Google plans to scrap third-party cookies by 2022 — here’s why it’s problematic

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Google has announced plans to stop using tracking cookies on its Chrome browser by 2022, replacing them with a group profiling system in a move the company says will “chart a path to a web more respectful of privacy ”.

The change is significant. Chrome controls about two-thirds of the web browser market. Third-party tracking cookies, on the other hand, underpin much of the targeted advertising industry. And, while Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari have already stopped supporting third-party cookies, Google is the first company to offer an alternative advertising medium.

Rather than following and targeting you on an individual basis, Google’s alternative instead groups you into a crowd of people with similar broad-based interests. Google claims that this gives users more privacy. This oddly matches the assurance given to advertisers that the new technique is at least 95% as effective as individual targeting.

But under the death knell of Google’s press releases, the shift from tracking to profiling raises a number of new privacy and discrimination issues. Apparently, a move to bolster individual privacy, Chrome’s new system should ultimately benefit Google, giving the company yet another edge over its beleaguered AdTech competitors.

One eye reflects the Google logo