Google Delays Third-Party Cookie Replacement Until 2023

There will be a pause on testing the tech, too

Google’s replacement for third-party tracking cookies, as well as one of the biggest parts of its privacy sandbox initiative, has been delayed from 2022 to 2023.

Google on Thursday announced the move to push back the large-scale rollout of its Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) technology. Engadget notes that Google’s Privacy Sandbox originally was announced in 2019, with a tentative date set for 2022 as the goal for Google’s replacement of third-party cookies. Now, though, it looks like the old way of tracking users won’t be completely replaced until 2023 at the earliest.

Google open on an HP laptop

Benjamin Dada / Unsplash

According to the announcement, Google now plans to phase out cookies entirely in Chrome over a three-month period that is set to end in the later months of 2023, noting that it needed more time to get the economy right. FLoC has been in testing for a few months now in Chrome, though Google plans to end testing for this original version on July 13.

"We believe that the Privacy Sandbox will provide the best privacy protections for everyone," Vinay Goel, privacy engineering director at Chrome, wrote in the announcement. "By ensuring that the ecosystem can support their businesses without tracking individuals across the web, we can all ensure that free access to content continues."

Despite some backlash over the way that FLoC works, Google seems dedicated to making it the primary replacement for third-party cookies, at least in Chrome. Other browsers, like Mozilla, already have taken hard stances against the new tracking system, citing concerns that it could provide more information to advertisers than they really need. 

For now, though, it looks like the system is being put back in the oven so that Google can figure out the more intricate parts a bit better. The company also laid out a two-stage plan for the rollout of its Privacy Sandbox features, which it expects to start around the end of 2022.

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