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What does the Google move mean for the industry? The proof is in the cookie.

What's New in Publishing 28 Jan 2020 08:15

OPINION

In evolutionary terms, we are living in the consumer data era. Google’s plan to phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome is simply the latest development in the evolution process of consumer data and privacy. Naturally, rhetoric is spinning around the web, at times with a sense of hysteria attached mainly due to gaps in knowledge and misconceptions. So, let’s take a step back and try to ease the panic by untangling some of the knots in the web. 

In the blog post announcing the plan, Justin Schuh, engineering director for Chrome, explains the purpose of the Privacy Sandbox open source initiative that will render the cookie obsolete, is to “make the web more private and secure for users, while also supporting publishers.” This is a sequel to the previous Google changes to cross-site tracking in Chrome — that will come into effect in February — developed to enforce a universal flag system. Referred to as SameSite web technology, it prevents insecure data sharing across sites while building an environment with “incrementally better cookies.” It’s easy to spot the veil of irony here: how can cookies become incrementally better while they are gradually phased out? Has the problem become such a challenge that the only way to fix it is “tabula rasa,” a blank slate upon which to build a new experience? Perhaps this is the case, but we ought to clarify what we are trying to achieve.

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