Google’s third-party cookies get a stay of execution

google adxGoogle has finally bowed to pressure to delay the controversial Chrome update which will see the web browser block third-party cookies, although the tech giant insists it is only a temporary reprieve due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The company has decided to roll back the SameSite cookie changes, which it claimed would also provide increased security and privacy.

While Google planned to improve web safety and privacy with the update, many adtech companies have expressed concern about the effect it will have. Developers will have to declare their cookies to stop Google from changing their settings to a more secure option, so this update has the potential to break sites that have not adapted.

In a blog post, Justin Schuh director of Chrome engineering shared: “In light of the extraordinary global circumstances due to Covid-19, we are temporarily rolling back the enforcement of SameSite cookie labeling, starting today.

“While most of the web ecosystem was prepared for this change, we want to ensure stability for websites providing essential services including banking, online groceries, government services and healthcare that facilitate our daily life during this time.

“As we roll back enforcement, organisations, users and sites should see no disruption,” Schuh concluded.

In many ways Google is already behind the curve when it comes to third-party cookies. Many privacy advocates insist that their ability to let advertisers follow users around the Internet to observe their web-browsing habits in order to personalise digital marketing, do not comply with GDPR.  Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox have already blocked third-party cookies.

Under the changes, clicks or conversions will still be stored in Google’s browser instead of being broadcast to third parties, meaning it still has the data. How it will handle this information has yet to be revealed, although the situation might be clearer once the company rolls out its Privacy Sandbox API.

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