The eventual goal of Google’s continuing “Privacy Sandbox” initiative is to phase out third-party tracking cookies from its products in favor of an as-yet-undefined substitute. While some of Google’s concepts (such as FLoC) are still being tested, the company has made a loose commitment to an overall timescale in a recent blog post.
By the end of 2022, the company wants Privacy Sandbox technology in place in Chrome and available to third-party developers, as well as tracking cookies taken out of the browser starting in mid-2023 and completed by late 2023.
Developers should be able to access Google’s privacy sandbox in about a year.
With the Privacy Sandbox, Google hopes to not only remove its own reliance on tracking cookies, but also to offer an open alternative that will be adopted largely by content producers and the advertising sector. This standard, which the business is still developing, would be more privacy-conscious than the existing cookie system, which monitors users across several websites and collects a tremendous amount of information about how they interact with them and what demographics they may fall into.
The Federated Learning of Cohorts API is the most important of the Privacy Sandbox concepts so far (FLoC). Instead of tagging end users individually with the intended demographic, this approach would assign them to demographic “clusters.” That means the advertiser is accessing and sending advertising to one of these clusters rather than directly to the end user, obfuscating the end user’s identity (Google characterizes it as “hiding individuals in the crowd”). The solution offers keeping user web history locally in the browser, which generates the user’s “interest clusters” on the device and only sends that generalized data onward.