SAN FRANCISCO: Google pledged on Wednesday to move away from tracking individual online activity as it begins implementing a new system for targeting ads without the use of so-called “cookies.”
The Chrome browser widely used by the internet giant this month will begin testing an alternative tracking practice that could improve online privacy while still enabling advertisers to send relevant messages.
“We make it clear that once we phase out third-party cookies, we will not create alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse the web, nor will we use them in our products,” Timken said in a blog post.
“Advances in collection, anonymization, on-device operation, and other privacy-preserving technologies offer a clear pathway for replacing individual identifiers.”
The move comes as Google is criticized by critics over user privacy, increasing scrutiny of privacy and protecting people’s data rights.
The growing fear of cookie tracking has led to support for internet rights legislation such as Europe’s General Data Protection Act.
Timken described Google’s new system as “preserving privacy … while still providing results for advertisers and publishers.”
Safari and Firefox have already done away with third-party cookies, but they are still used in the world’s most popular browser, Chrome.
Chrome captured 63% of the global browser market last year, according to StatCounter.
Last month, Google revealed test results showing an alternative to cookies called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) which identifies groups of people with common interests without individual tracking.
Some companies have contested Google’s plan, claiming it will force more advertisers into its “gated garden.”