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Google Begins Testing Limited Third-Party Cookies on Chrome as Part of Privacy Move

Google has initiated the process of limiting third-party cookies for some users of its Chrome web browser, marking the initial phase toward abandoning these files due to privacy concerns. Google had announced its intention to eliminate cookies in 2020, and the current move is part of the testing phase before a broader rollout. 

The company stated that it plans to restrict third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users initially for testing and aims to reach 100% of users by Q3 2024. The final elimination of third-party cookies will require approval from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority, which is assessing the potential impact on other businesses.

Cookies, particularly third-party cookies, have been a subject of increased regulatory scrutiny, with measures like the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and state regulations in California. Third-party cookies, often used for targeted advertising by tracking users' web navigation, are placed by visited sites rather than the browser itself. Google had announced its intention to phase out third-party cookies within two years in January 2020, but the timeline has experienced several delays.

As an alternative, Google has been working on a system for Chrome that focuses on Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). Instead of tracking individual users, FLoC targets audience segments, or cohorts, which include hundreds or thousands of people. This approach is designed to balance privacy concerns with advertisers' need for targeted advertising.

Google Begins Testing Limited Third-Party Cookies on Chrome as Part of Privacy Move

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