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Google cross site tracking

Google the Cookie Monster: What their Latest Initiative Means to Ad Tech

Google is not slowing down in its push towards privacy on the web (all irony aside). 

Last year, Google announced several updates to its privacy policy, leaving many advertisers and publishers bemused. Google, which made $116.3 billion from advertising in 2018 alone, was now meant to believed to be the torch-bearer of consumer privacy? 

According to Google, the company’s objectives have remained the same — to build a better web and improve user experience. Due to the rising concerns of privacy, Google was to set out to change how cookies were handled, to prevent fingerprinting and to ensure that free web-content continued to flourish. 

What that first announcement turned into was the creation of Privacy Sandbox and a deadline (February 4, 2020) to reconfigure cookies to be flagged with SameSite

The new SameSite requirements are not the only big step forward towards a more secure web for consumers this year — Google made yet another announcement on January 14.

Google’s latest announcement: Chrome is saying goodbye to cookies by 2022

Google announced that it was treading a path to make the 3rd party cookie obsolete by 2022.

“Our intention is to do this within two years,” explains Director of Chrome Engineering Justin Schuh. “But we cannot get there alone, and that’s why we need the ecosystem to engage on these proposals. We plan to start the first origin trials by the end of this year, starting with conversion measurement and following with personalization.”

Google has turned to the World Wide Web Consortium, also referred to as W3C, to help discuss what the web will look like in the post-cookie era. 

Representatives from Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, the Trade Desk, Microsoft and the IAB Tech Lab are some of the key players in navigating this conversation. 

While Google is taking a rather democratic approach to this complex change, Lara O’Reilly at Digiday says there is a lack of representation of publishers and marketers in the conversation.

Google wants publishers to participate in the conversation, but the under engagement is largely due to a lack of qualified engineers who work for publishers who understand the tech and politics of such a change. 

What this announcement means for advertisers

There is still a lot up in the air for advertisers, especially for those who don’t have a representative in the W3C.

Currently, the biggest concrete step remains the SameSite cutoff that took place on February 4. 

The Privacy Sandbox is still a work in progress, though Google has received positive feedback that the mechanisms are heading in the intended direction.

Remaining action steps or changes in the advertising ecosystem remain suspect. The one thing that remains is that advertisers who rely on third party cookies should stay alert and be prepared for sweeping changes in the next few years.