Google launched the program Privacy Sandbox for its popular Chrome browser in 2020, aiming to replace third-party cookies that track user data and behavior across many sites.
As time passed, the company revealed in June 2021 that the launch of Privacy Sandbox would be postponed until 2023 due to scrutiny by several governments around the world regarding possible anti-competitive behavior in the advertising industry.
The deadline has been pushed back even further, Google planning to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome in the second half of 2024. According to Google, developers, publishers, marketers and regulators have consistently expressed their need for more time to analyze and test new technologies. Privacy Sandbox before deleting third-party cookies in Chrome.
Google predicts that APIs Privacy Sandbox will be launched and widely available in Chrome in Q3 2023. Additionally, Google plans to begin phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome in the second half of 2024 as developers implement these APIs.
Developers can test these APIs today as part of the trial period, and starting in early August, trials of Privacy Sandbox will expand to millions of consumers worldwide and gradually increase through 2023. Users will be asked to manage their trial participation before being added.
Google is closely watched
Commenting on the delay, Anthony Chavez, vice president of Privacy Sandbox, said:
The most consistent comments we’ve received relate to the need for more time to evaluate and test new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deleting third-party cookies in Chrome. These comments are consistent with our commitment to the CMA to ensure that the Privacy Sandbox provides effective privacy-preserving technologies and that the industry has sufficient time to adopt these new solutions. This deliberate approach to transitioning away from third-party cookies ensures the web can continue to thrive, without depending on cross-site tracking identifiers or secret techniques like fingerprinting.
As previously reported, competitors and privacy advocates were not quick to support Google’s change, with EFF technologist Bennett Cyphers calling on Google to “redirect its efforts towards building a truly user-friendly web“. When Google abandoned a first attempt at a replacement (FLoC) for the Topics API, Bennett Cyphers mentioned that if “it clearly improves compared to FLoC», «being less scary than FLoC doesn’t mean it’s “good”. It will tell third-party trackers what kind of sites you are browsing, and it could help websites and advertisers identify you across devices“. Google claims that “as the web community tests these APIs, we will continue to listen and respond to feedback“.