Google has recently implemented the disabling of third-party cookies for one percent of Chrome users, marking a significant step in the ongoing Privacy Sandbox project that was introduced years ago. The global rollout, initiated on January 4, impacts approximately 30 million users, considering Chrome’s dominant position with over half of the worldwide browser market share.
Users included in this initial phase will be notified upon launching their browsers, informing them that they are among the first to experience Tracking Protection. This feature restricts websites from utilizing third-party cookies to track their browsing activities. Recognizing potential disruptions to websites not yet adapted to this change, Google allows users to temporarily re-enable third-party cookies by clicking on the newly added eye icon in the browser bar, toggling off the Tracking Protection feature.
Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative aims to provide an alternative to cookies, balancing targeted advertising with user privacy. By categorizing users into interest groups based on recent browsing activities, advertisers can deliver relevant ads without the intrusiveness associated with traditional cookies. Notably, all data processing occurs on the user’s device, and Google commits to storing user interests for a limited three-week period. Regulatory scrutiny has arisen due to concerns about Google’s increased influence, but the company plans to gradually extend Tracking Protection to all Chrome users by mid-2024 if the implementation proves successful.