CMA action forces Google to delay demise of cookies

data more2Google has revealed yet another stay of execution for third-party cookies, which will see the tech live on until late 2023, and possibly even longer, following the intervention of the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority.

The first delay was announced last year at the height of the Covid pandemic, but the new deadline will see Google phase out third-party cookies in Chrome over a three-month period ending in late 2023.

Google will only do so after cookieless ad methods in its Privacy Sandbox initiative are fully tested and deployed via APIs in its browser.

The firm plans to begin phasing out Chrome support for third-party cookies in late 2022, and it expects the phase-out to last nine-months.

The move follows an undertaking to let the UK’s CMA have the final say in any new system, following an investigation into the impact of the company’s Privacy Sandbox approach to replacing third-party cookies.

Google will also end its trial of FLoC, its most-controversial Privacy Sandbox proposal for tracking people and targeting ads, on July 13.

Among Google’s commitments submitted to the CMA, the company said it would not give preference to its own systems and services in development or implementation of Privacy Sandbox methods or use “sensitive information provided by an ad tech provider or publisher to Chrome in a way that distorts competition”.

In a blog post to announce the extension, Google stated: “Subject to our engagement with the United Kingdom’s Competition & Markets Authority and in line with the commitments we have offered, Chrome could then phase out third-party cookies over a three-month period, starting in mid-2023 and ending in late 2023.”

In response to the new delay, Criteo chief product officer Todd Parsons said: “The announcement is welcome news for the people who rely on a vibrant and healthy open internet. We appreciate Google’s decision to create more time for the industry to prepare, but the extended deadline does not in any way change or impact Criteo’s strategy.

“We continue to build products that will enable our customers to reach and engage their audiences without third-party identifiers.

“This includes investment in our first-party media network, cohort-based targeting, initiatives in Google’s Privacy Sandbox, and contextual advertising, all of which allow marketers to effectively engage with their customers in a privacy-safe and consented manner.”

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