Google Begins Rolling Out ‘Privacy Sandbox’ Ad-Tracking Features in Chrome
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Google is now one step closer to doing away with those nasty third-party cookies that follow you around the web. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Chrome itself will now track your activity with its new Privacy Sandbox. After years of testing and false starts, Google has turned on the new ad-tracking tools in Chrome for almost everyone.
Virtually everyone agrees that tracking cookies are a privacy nightmare. These bits of code are deposited on your system as you browse the web, allowing advertisers to build uncomfortably accurate profiles of people. This data allows advertisers to target ads that you’re more likely to click.
Google oversees the Chromium project, and its Chrome browser is by far the most popular in the world. This puts Google in the unique position to do away with third-party cookies on the internet. Unfortunately, Google is still an advertising company first and foremost, and it’s not going to simply give up on targeting ads.
The idea is that the privacy sandbox APIs that are now flipped on in Chrome will replace cookies. Google does plan to block those cookies soon, but it’s not quite at that phase yet. Currently, 97% of people on the latest version of Chrome have the Privacy Sandbox and its new Topics API. Google is holding that small segment back so it can conduct A/B testing. The features started appearing on Pixel phones several weeks ago.
As you browse the web in Chrome, the browser will pick a batch of advertising categories that match your web activity, like food, cars, travel, and talk shows. It will share these with advertisers and developers via the Topics API.
This approach has been scaled back from Google’s original pitch, the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), which opponents said gave away too much personal data. The Topics approach is general, but having the browser itself doing all the tracking does feel creepy in its own way.
If you want to take a peek at what Google thinks you’re into, you’ll find the Topics listed in the new Ad Privacy settings menu. You can block topics you don’t want to be included, and the API cycles out old topics every four weeks. Google says it plans to disable third-party cookies for a small number of users early next year while it assesses the change. It could roll that change out to everyone in the second half of 2024.
What is Privacy Sandbox in Google Chrome?
The Privacy Sandbox is a series of proposals to satisfy cross-site use cases without third-party cookies or other tracking mechanisms.
How do I turn off Privacy Sandbox in Chrome?
First, find and click of the three vertical dots in the top right-hand corner of an open Chrome window. Then, scroll down to “Settings” in the menu. Next, find and click on “Privacy and security” in the left-hand menu, followed by “Ad privacy” in the central list of options that then appears on your screen.
What are the benefits of Google Privacy Sandbox?
Improved user privacy: One of the most significant benefits of the Privacy Sandbox is that it allows users to enjoy a more private and secure online experience. By eliminating third-party cookies, the Privacy Sandbox protects users’ personal data from being collected and shared without their consent.
What is another name for ad tracking?
Ad tracking, also known as post-testing or ad effectiveness tracking, is in-market research that monitors a brand’s performance including brand and advertising awareness, product trial and usage, and attitudes about the brand versus their competition.
What is Google Sandbox account?
What is a “sandbox” account? A “sandbox” account is just another Google Analytics account that you’ll set up for this course in order to practice and test account settings without having to use your existing account. We want you to have an environment to practice in where you’re not afraid to make mistakes!