Google recently disabled third-party cookies for one percent of Chrome users, following the introduction of its Privacy Sandbox project. The company announced last year that it would start by disabling cookies for a random one percent of Chrome users globally on January 4. With Chrome holding over 50% of the global browser market share, Google has effectively removed cookies for 30 million users, according to Gizmodo.
Users included in this initial rollout will receive a notification when they launch their browser informing them that they are among the first to experience Tracking Protection. This feature limits websites from using third-party cookies to track their browsing activity. Due to the potential impact on websites that have yet to adapt to this change, Google will allow users to temporarily re-enable third-party cookies by clicking on the eye icon in their browser bar.
Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative aims to provide an alternative to cookies that allows advertisers to serve users ads while safeguarding their privacy. It categorizes users into groups based on their interests, derived from their recent browsing activities, which advertisers can use to deliver relevant ads. This system is purported to be less intrusive than cookies, with all data and processing occurring on the user’s device, and Google storing user interests for three weeks. However, regulators have expressed concerns that this initiative could further consolidate Google’s power. If the rollout goes smoothly, Google plans to continue implementing Tracking Protection over the next few months until it has disabled third-party cookies for all Chrome users by mid-2024.