I started a company Google Thursday in restricting cookies, or as they are known as third-party cookies, for some users of its “Chrome” browser, in order to begin the transition towards completely abandoning the tracking tools that are facing criticism due to their intrusive nature, a decision that was announced since 2020. According to a report by the Daily Mail.
The giant American company said in a message on a blog: “As previously announced, the Chrome browser will limit the activity of external cookies to 1% of its users in order to facilitate tests, before increasing the capacity to 100% of users starting from the third quarter of 2024.” .
The technology giant randomly selected users representing 1% of the world (about 30 million people) to be the first to use a feature called “Tracking Protection.”
This step is part of Google's Privacy Sandbox program, as the American company prevents sites from using third-party cookies to track users while they browse the web to display their ads.
This comes after several years of competing web browsers – such as Apple's Safari and Mozilla's Firefox – blocking third-party cookies by default.
Google explained that completely abandoning third-party cookies could only be effective after consulting the British Competition and Markets Authority regarding “potential competition issues.”
Cookies – which are computer files used specifically to track the movement of Internet users and deliver targeted advertisements to them – have been subject to greater regulatory restrictions since the implementation of several standards, in particular under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) established by the European Union in 2016, in addition to legislation Issued in California.
The term “third-party cookies” is used to designate cookies that originate from websites visited and not from the browser itself.
Are you one of them?
To find out if you are one of those affected by the new change in Chrome, you will see a notification in a pop-up box on Chrome for desktop or mobile. It will read: “You're one of the first people to experience Tracking Protection, which prevents sites from using third-party cookies to track you while you browse.”
The company says that this change will be done automatically, so while you browse the web, third-party cookies will be restricted, which limits the ability to track you across different websites.
If for some reason you want third-party cookies to persist in Chrome, you can click on the eye icon in the search bar, which will have a diagonal line indicating that the feature has been disabled.
After clicking, users will be able to activate the option to receive cookies, which will remove the diagonal line and show a message in the search bar that reads: “Third-party cookies allowed.”
However, if you turn cookies on, Google tells you that it will automatically turn them off again after 90 days.
Even if you're not among the 1% affected, the days of third-party cookies on Chrome are numbered. Google plans to completely phase out the use of third-party cookies when the Tracking Protection feature reaches all users in the second half of 2024, although this is subject to regulatory approval.
According to Statsta, Chrome is used by more than 3.22 billion Internet users, but many of them aren't even sure what cookies are or what they do. Third-party cookies are created when a user visits a website that includes elements from other websites, such as third-party images or advertisements.
They contrast with first-party cookies, which are set by the site the user is visiting and are often useful, as they allow the browser to remember important user information.
In a blog post last month, Google described third-party cookies as “an essential part of the web for nearly three decades,” but they are controversial for tracking user activity across websites.
European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said last June that the agency was investigating Google's provision of tools to block third-party cookies.
Google announced in January 2020 that it was committed to abandoning third-party cookies within two years. The implementation of this reform was postponed several times, before it came into effect at the beginning of this January.