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Google Chrome Rolls Out Support for 'Privacy Sandbox' Ad Platform Aimed at Replacing Third-Party Cookies

Google Chrome will eventually drop support for third-party cookies, while the new alternative ad platform will let sites track users and serve targeted ads.

Google Chrome Rolls Out Support for 'Privacy Sandbox' Ad Platform Aimed at Replacing Third-Party Cookies

Photo Credit: Unsplash/ Firmbee

Users can switch to Safari or Firefox to avoid using Chrome's Privacy Sandbox

  • Google Chrome plans to eventually drop support of third party cookies
  • The firm has rolled out a new ad platform for targeted ads to most users
  • Google Chrome users can choose to disable the new tracking feature

Google Chrome is making a new ad platform available to most users via its 'Privacy Sandbox', the company announced on Thursday. The search giant previously announced that it plans to phase out support for third party cookies that are used to track people as they browse the web. Instead, the company has built a browser-based advertising mechanism that can track you without cookies, previously called the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). Chrome users will be informed about the new "ad privacy feature" when the ad platform is enabled on their browser.

In a blog post, Google revealed that the ad topics feature that is part of the Privacy Sandbox feature — previously available to beta testers — has now reached "general availability" on Chrome. Google says it has worked with publishers, developers, adtech providers, and consumers to develop the new system that will eventually replace the use of third-party cookies on Google's browser.

chrome privacy sandbox chrome sandbox

A screenshot of the ad platform controls found under Chrome's privacy settings


Once the Privacy Sandbox platform rolls out to you on Chrome, you will be presented with a popup that informs you about the new tracking mechanism. Some users have reported seeing a "Turn on" button suggesting that the feature is opt-in, while others have shared screenshots of the same prompt with a "Got it" button that suggests the feature may have to be manually disabled. You can do this by visiting the Chrome settings section and clicking on Privacy and Security > Ad privacy to modify your settings.

When enabled, Google's new tracking mechanism will make a list of "ad topics", by studying your browsing history. These ad topics are then shared with a website when it wants to show you targeted ads, which means that you will see ads based on your browsing history.

According to the company, Google Chrome will drop support for third party cookies for one percent of all users in Q1 2024. The company says that the "countdown to the planned deprecation of third-party cookies is in full effect."  

If this sounds like an equally bad method of tracking users across the Internet as third party cookies, then you might want to consider switching to Apple's Safari browser, or the open source Firefox browser from Mozilla. Unlike Chrome and many Chromium-based browsers, both Firefox and Safari block third-party cookies and do not include support for the Privacy Sandbox. iCloud+ and Apple One subscribers can also use Private Relay feature to hide their IP address from websites and trackers.

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David Delima
As a writer on technology with Gadgets 360, David Delima is interested in open-source technology, cybersecurity, consumer privacy, and loves to read and write about how the Internet works. David can be contacted via email at DavidD@ndtv.com, on Twitter at @DxDavey, and Mastodon at mstdn.social/@delima. More
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