WSJ US BusinessGoogle Pursues Plan to Remove Third-Party Cookies

January 25, 20210

Google is pushing forward with its plan to remove a widely used tracking technology from its Chrome web browser, despite complaints from rivals that rely on it to target ads at individuals.

The Alphabet Inc. unit on Monday said it is making progress on what it said are privacy-friendly alternatives that could replace third-party cookies, which many advertisers and other companies use to track individuals’ browsing habits across multiple websites.

Google cited positive test results for a technology that analyzes users’ browsing habits on their own devices, without sending sensitive data to central servers, and said it expects to open outside testing of ad buys using the technology in the second quarter.

A Google spokesman said the company is still on track to stop supporting such cookies in Chrome next year, when the new alternatives are expected to be ready.

Third-party cookies offer data that can be valuable to advertisers for the purpose of targeting ads, measuring their effectiveness and stopping fraud. But the way they track individuals’ personal browsing has long raised privacy concerns, leading Google to say last year that it would phase them out in 2022.

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