Google delays third-party cookie ban until 2023

Google is delaying plans to phase out third-party cookies on Chrome.

The technology giant said that while there has been considerable progress made with the initiative, it has "become clear that more time is needed to get the plans right."

Earlier this month, the UK's competition watchdog said that following an investigation, it had secured commitments from Google to address concerns about the proposal to remove third-party cookies on its web platform.

The move came after enforcement action launched by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) against Google in January 2021, when a number of businesses raised concerns about the company’s plans to phase out third-party cookies and other functionalities in its Chrome browser.

While there have been privacy concerns about their use, these cookies are used by digital advertisers to personalise and target advertisements more effectively, providing an income stream for free online content such as newspapers.

The CMA was concerned that, without regulatory oversight and scrutiny, Google’s alternatives could be developed and implemented in ways that “impede competition in digital advertising markets.”

“The Privacy Sandbox initiative aims to create web technologies that both protect people’s privacy online and give companies and developers the tools to build thriving digital businesses to keep the web open and accessible to everyone, now, and for the future,” wrote Vinay Goel, privacy engineering director at Chrome, in a blog post.

Goel added that a set of open standards to enhance privacy on the web must be developed before the plans could be carried out.

The company’s goal is to have these technologies deployed by late 2022 for the developer community to start adopting them.

Google said that subject to engagement with the CMA, Chrome could then phase out third-party cookies over a three month period, starting in mid-2023 and ending in late 2023.

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