Google Postpones Third-Party Cookie Deprecation Amid U.K. Regulatory Scrutiny



Google has once again postponed its plans to phase out third-party tracking cookies in its Chrome web browser as it addresses ongoing competition concerns raised by U.K. regulators regarding its Privacy Sandbox initiative.

The tech giant stated that it is collaborating closely with the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) with the aim of reaching an agreement by the year’s end.

Under the revised timeline, the company intends to commence the gradual elimination of third-party cookies in early 2025, marking the third extension since the original announcement in 2020. Previously, the timeline had been postponed from early 2022 to late 2023, and then to the latter half of 2024.

Privacy Sandbox encompasses a series of initiatives designed to provide privacy-preserving alternatives to tracking cookies and cross-app identifiers, enabling the delivery of personalized advertisements to users.

While Google has already implemented these features for a subset of Chrome browser users since last year, both the U.K. watchdog and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have been closely monitoring the implementation process to ensure that Privacy Sandbox benefits consumers and does not unfairly favor Google’s advertising technology.

Notably, both Apple and Mozilla discontinued support for third-party cookies in their respective web browsers as of early 2020.

“We acknowledge the ongoing challenges associated with reconciling diverse feedback from the industry, regulators, and developers, and we will continue to engage closely with the entire ecosystem,” Google stated in an update.

“It is also imperative that the CMA has adequate time to review all evidence, including the results from industry tests, which the CMA has requested market participants to submit by the end of June.”

However, Google faced a setback with a draft report from the ICO revealing that the proposed alternatives may have vulnerabilities that advertisers could exploit to identify users, thus potentially undermining the objectives of privacy and anonymity, as reported by the Wall Street Journal last week.

Meanwhile, Google announced plans to enhance client-side encrypted (CSE) Google Meet calls by adding support for inviting external participants, including those without a Google account.

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