Google says it’s made progress toward a replacement system allowing the delivery of targeted advertising without the utilization of privacy-invading “cookies”
Google is weaning itself off user-tracking “cookies” which permit the online giant to deliver personalized ads but which even have raised the hackles of privacy defenders.
Last month, Google unveiled the results of tests showing an alternate to the longstanding tracking practice, claiming it could improve online privacy while still enabling advertisers to serve relevant messages.
“This approach effectively hides individuals ‘in the crowd’ and uses on-device processing to stay a person’s web history private on the browser,” Google product manager Chetna Bindra explained in unveiling the system called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC).
Results indicate that when it involves generating interest-based audiences, FLoC can provide an efficient replacement signal for third-party cookies.”
Google plans to start testing the FLoC approach with advertisers later this year with its Chrome browser.
“Advertising is important to keeping the online open for everybody , but the online ecosystem is in danger if privacy practices don’t continue with changing expectations,” Bindra added.
Google has many incentive for the change. The US internet giant has been hammered by critics over user privacy, and is keenly conscious of trends for legislation protecting people’s data rights.
Growing fear of cookie-tracking has prompted support for internet rights legislation like GDPR in Europe and has the web giant devising how to effectively target ads without knowing an excessive amount of about a person person.
Some sorts of cookies — which are text files stored when a user visits an internet site — are a convenience for logins and browsing at frequently visited sites.
Some analysts argue that Google’s move faraway from cookies used for web tracking could create a replacement set of privacy problems
Anyone who has pulled up a registration page online only to possess their name and address automatically entered where required has cookies to thank. But other forms of cookies are seen by some as nefarious.
“Third-party cookies are a privacy nightmare,” Electronic Frontier Foundation staff technologist Bennet Cyphers told AFP.
“You don’t got to know what everyone has ever done just to serve them a billboard .”
He reasoned that advertising supported context are often effective; an example being someone watching recipes at a cooking website being shown ads for cookware or grocery stores.
Safari and Firefox browsers have already done away with third-party cookies, but they’re still used at the world’s hottest browser – Chrome.
Chrome accounted for 63 percent of the worldwide browser market last year, consistent with StatCounter.
“It’s both a competitive and legal liability for Google to stay using third-party cookies, but they need their ad business to stay humming,” Cyphers said.
Cyphers et al. have worries about Google employing a secret formula to lump internet users into groups and provides them “cohort” badges of sorts which will be wont to target marketing messages without knowing exactly who they’re .
“There may be a chance that it just makes tons of privacy problems worse,” Cyphers said, suggesting the new system could create “cohort” badges of individuals who could also be targeted with little transparency..
“There may be a machine learning recorder that’s getting to absorb equally of everything you’ve got even wiped out your browser and spit out a label that says you’re this type of person,” Cyphers said.
“Advertisers are getting to decode what those labels mean.”
He expected advertisers to eventually deduce which labels include certain ages, genders or races, and which are people susceptible to extreme politics .
A Marketers for an Open Web business coalition is campaigning against Google’s cohort move, questioning its effectiveness and arguing it’ll force more advertisers into its “walled garden.”
“Google’s proposals are bad for independent media owners, bad for independent advertising technology and bad for marketers,” coalition director James Rosewell said during a release.