Google Announces key updates to test a more private web

A year ago Google announced a plan to tackle privacy issues in online advertising, with the intention to phase out third-party cookies and replace them with new browser features that are fundamentally more private. Since then, they have been working closely with the broader web community, including W3C, to design and implement new privacy-preserving technology, while also preserving the vitality and sustainability of the open web.


Today more than 30 different proposals have been offered by Chrome and others, including many believed to be key to rendering third-party cookies obsolete. Early test results are also looking promising (see below).


They continue this work and are excited to be testing this foundational tech with the active involvement of ecosystem partners and industry forums – all to move the web forward, together. What follows are key updates since the announcements last January and October .


Early results, and new proposals ready for testing


Five different Privacy Sandbox proposals are available for testing now – or will be very soon – in key areas like fraud detection, the tailoring of content, first-party treatment of a company’s owned and related domains, ads measurement, and a private-by-default way to request browser info. In fact, early testing of the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FloC) algorithm shows that new privacy-preserving ad solutions can be similarly effective to cookie-based approaches . This is great news for users, publishers, and advertisers – all of whom are critical for the future of the web – and Google is pleased to carry this work forward.


Another important area of focus is user-facing controls. In particular, it’s clear that people will want to tune whether content is tailored to them (or not) – in addition to keeping their private info private. With the Chrome 90 release in April, they will be releasing the first controls for the Privacy Sandbox (first, a simple on/off), and plan to expand on these controls in future Chrome releases, as more proposals reach the origin trial stage, and they receive more feedback from end users and industry. You can find a full update on all trials on their blog .


Involvement across the ecosystem


They are also pleased that companies like Salesforce, White Ops, and Yahoo! JAPAN, are testing or preparing to test initial solutions like Trust Tokens , First Party Sets , and Conversion Measurement . They note that all developers have access to public Chrome experiments - the latest guidance can be found on . They encourage all developers to test and share feedback . This type of engagement helps ensure that the various APIs work as expected in real-world scenarios and they encourage ecosystem participation.


Building better. Together.


Google appreciates that the web’s is by and for all - a special quality amongst today’s platforms. At the same time, it creates complexity and trade-offs that need to be managed thoughtfully – and collectively – as they introduce new technology. To this end, they continue to engage in industry forums like the W3C, and are in active discussions with independent authorities – including privacy regulators – to help identify and shape the best approach for online privacy, and the industry and world as a whole.


So here’s to the users, and coders, and advertisers, and content creators (and so many others) who’ve made, and continue to make the platform what it is today. And here’s to coming together, in service of a more private web.


Posted by Justin Schuh - Director, Chrome Engineering

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