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Google says it will not use any new strategies to trace you because it expires browser cookies for advertisements

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Google is refining its targeted advertising plans as the use of browser cookies is phased out. In a new blog post on Wednesday, Google will no longer use any other method to “track” users on the Internet once it ends support for cookies in Chrome.

Last year, the company announced it would end support for third-party cookies, which fuel much of the digital advertising ecosystem in its Chrome browser, within two years of January 2020. Instead, according to Google, only “data protection technologies” based on methods such as anonymization or aggregation of data are used.

The blog post by David Temkin, director of product management for privacy and ad trust, said the company had received questions about whether Google “will join others in the ad tech industry by using third-party cookies through user-level alternate identifiers.” want to replace. “Ad tech players have been working on marketing methods that will balance consumer privacy while maintaining personalization of advertising after they can no longer use cookies.

“Today we are making it clear that once third-party cookies have expired, we will not create any alternative identifiers to track people while surfing the Internet, nor will we use them in our products,” the Google article said.

Cookies are small pieces of code that websites send to a visitor’s browser and are retained when visiting other websites. They can be used to track users across multiple websites, target ads, and check their performance. Google announced last year that it would end support for these cookies in Chrome as soon as it figured out how to meet the needs of users, publishers, and advertisers and developed tools to mitigate workarounds. The company said it intends to do so within two years by early 2022.

To this end, Google has launched the “Privacy Sandbox” initiative to find a solution that both protects the privacy of users and enables content to be made available free of charge on the open web. In January, Google said it was “extremely confident” of the progress of its cookie replacement proposals and plans to test a proposal with advertisers on Google Ads in the next quarter. In particular, this proposal, known as “federated learning of cohorts”, would essentially divide people into groups based on similar browsing behaviors, meaning that only “cohort IDs” and not individual user IDs would be used, to set it as a target.

According to Google, it’s about how their own ad products work, not what third parties can do on Chrome. The company said it wouldn’t use Unified ID 2.0 or LiveRamp ATS in its ad products but wouldn’t specifically talk about an initiative.

Unified ID 2.0 is an initiative brought together by a number of top ad tech companies that rely on email addresses hashed and encrypted by consumers who give their consent. The publicly traded company LiveRamp also has what is known as an “Authenticated Traffic Solution” in which consumers choose to take control of their data and, on the other hand, brands and publishers can use that data.

Temkin says in the post that other providers “may offer a level of user identity for web ad tracking that we won’t – like PII charts based on users’ email addresses.”

“We don’t believe these solutions will meet increasing consumer privacy expectations, nor will they withstand rapidly evolving regulatory constraints, so they are not a sustainable long-term investment,” the blog post said. “Instead, our web products are operated with data protection APIs that prevent individual tracking and at the same time deliver results for advertisers and publishers.”

Google informed a number of key advertisers and groups about the post before Wednesday, including George Popstefanov, founder and CEO of the digital agency PMG.

Popstefanov said in an email that while this is a dynamic change, “we have been preparing for it for a while”.

“After last year announcing the phasing out of third-party cookies, many of our customers quickly built their data infrastructure and invested in their CRM to make better use of their first-party data,” he said. “The most important thing is that consumer behavior does not fundamentally change, just our ability to track and measure behaviors as we are used to. The importance of strategic planning and insight is becoming more important than ever to understanding audiences and how to connects. ” at the right time and in a contextual manner. “

He added that he believes Google is motivated to design its products and solutions to suit the new reality.

“Marketers are already diversifying their spending into more areas up and down the funnel, so Google will be responsible for ensuring that its solutions appeal to brands and support marketers’ investments and impact,” he said.

Alec Stapp, director of technology policy at the Progressive Policy Institute, described the news from Google as a step in the right direction for user privacy. The group has received funding from Google and other major tech companies, the Minutes reported last year.

“However, companies – even very large ones – can only do so much on their own,” he said in an email. “Policymakers need to put in place and formalize rules that protect user privacy while being careful not to bury users in an endless series of login screens.”

Jon Halvorson, global vice president of consumer experience at Mondelez International, said the decision was in line with consumer feedback on what they want and expect. He said the company will be doing some testing on “FLoC” and building it into business plans for this year.

“We don’t believe it can be privacy or performance. Advertisers need and need both,” he said in an email.

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Katherine Clark