Google Chrome blocks cookies: what changes in online advertising

Google Chrome blocks cookies: what changes in online advertising

Google Chrome blocks cookies

Google's decision to block "third-party cookies" on Google Chrome from 2022 surprises the world of online advertising.

In fact, Big G's business model is mainly based on 'online advertising, from which the majority of the company's earnings come.

Other browsers have already allowed for some time to block the use of cookies and the debate on privacy has been accessed in recent months after the changes made from Apple in the new operating systems iOS14 and the clash with Facebook.

So the news of Google Chrome's alignment with other browsers is not as revolutionary as it might seem, however it causes a stir: why Google should block one of the tools which made it one of the largest technology companies in the world?

Why does Google want to delete third-party cookies?

Before answering this question it is important to make a clarification to understand better what cooki are for e.

Cookies are information files that are stored on the user's device when browsing websites through a browser, such as Google Chrome.

These small files are divided into various categories based on their purpose and who manages them. Specifically, in fact, third-party cookies (as opposed to first-party cookies) do not belong to whoever manages the website being browsed, but to a third party and are present in various elements on the visited page, such as, for example , advertising banners, images, videos, etc.

One of their functions can be to "profile" the user, or to reconstruct and analyze his browsing habits and what he expresses his interest in in order to then be able to propose targeted advertisements.

The overabundance and invasiveness that in some cases can reach these files have often aroused the attention of the competent authorities in an attempt to preserve the user's privacy.

However, not always the regulatory indications and the sanctions applied by the Guarantors have been fully effective to preventively protect those who surf online. This is why technology companies have begun to study new methods to solve the problem.

The decision to delete these third-party cookies was therefore born, according to Justin Schuh himself, director of Google Engineering for Chrome, precisely from the desire to "make the web more private and secure for users".

Will it be the end of user tracking?

The question, therefore, arises spontaneously: taking up a well-known documentary of a famous streaming platform, will it therefore be the end of the era of "if the service is free, the product is you"?

It is important to clarify that cookies are not the only technological tracking tool , but there are many others, including local storage, indexedDB, web SQL, etc.

Facebook, for example, in some cases, has replaced third-party cookies with cookies first party combined with a pixel tracker: it is a tracking code or that is released by some systems to be implemented in others and to profile some data relating to the user and his browsing session.

Therefore, to answer the question, the end of the use of third-party cookies it would not be the end of the tracking.

What the GDPR says

Moral of the story: the only solution is always the traditional one of user consent.

The legislation , in fact, it requires the user to be duly informed about the use of cookies in order to be able to freely express their consent to their installation.

The Italian Data Protection Authority has already clarified time that, in order to have an express and aware consent in these cases, it is necessary that, whatever the origin of the cookies, if profiling is done, they must be indicated in a clearly visible banner at the time of the first access on the web page.

Recently, moreover, it has been eviden given the need for the user to be able to view the entire list of cookies provided on the site on which he is about to navigate and to obtain clear and complete information on their operation, their purpose and their suppliers.

In summary, to ensure full protection in the processing of personal data it will always be necessary to request the prior explicit consent of users to use profiling cookies and to provide them with all the related information.

Google Consent Mode and the Privacy Sandbox

In line with what has just been said, in September 2020 the Google Consent Mode was launched, a tool that is able to make all Google services work on the basis of the user's consent.

In short, the status of user consent determines the behavior of Google tags and scripts on any website.

However, Google's decision is part of a larger project called Privacy San dbox which includes a series of initiatives aimed at the protection of privacy on the web.

Among the main objectives:

guarantee the measurement of conversions for advertisers without tracking individual users; avoid the occurrence of fraud in ads through the use of bots; extend the advertisements to a large catchment area, limiting the collection of identification data. This solution would allow users to share less information with the web and, at the same time, would allow advertisers to show ads relevant to users' browsing habits.

So, although Google's decision to block cookies from third parties on your browser represents a big step forward for the protection of user privacy, with this strategy and thanks to the new initiatives in the pipeline, you could perhaps see your control over the data strengthened, which in fact would remain under its exclusive management .

What consequences will online advertising and lead generation suffer?

So we come to the question: what will change for online advertising?

Being one of the most used browsers in the world , blocking cookies on Google Chrome will probably lead to a revolution in the world of online advertising, but not for those who continue to use and invest in the tools of the giant gitale.

The solutions seen above, in fact, will allow companies that invest in online advertising for lead generation campaigns on Google platforms to show relevant advertisements to users anyway.

However, the blocking cookies could have consequences for competing companies. Replacing cookies with initiatives such as Google Consent Mode and Privacy Sandbox, in fact, could reduce the contractual strength and the advertising impact of competing companies, guaranteeing Google ever greater control of user data than all the others.

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