Could Google be about to follow Safari and Firefox and add their own Cookie blocking solution to Chrome? Until recently, most industry pundits would have baulked at Google blocking the cookies that feed the advertising eco-system. Google is, after-all, the worlds biggest advertising company. Thanks to an article published in AdWeek (paywalled link) last month, the idea is now being taken very seriously indeed.
Since this article was published, Google officially announced the predicted privacy changes that include cookie blocking. Read more about the announcement here.
The article claims that Google are looking into how to limit third-party data collection in Chrome and that this is an initiative spanning multiple teams, not just Google’s advertising division. Other sources have since verified these claims.
Third party tracking (or first party tracking used in a third party context) powers much of adtech, as well as other business essentials such as analytics. Safari’s ITP and Firefox’s look-alike ETP already limit this tracking but have limited market share compared with Google Chrome. If Chrome were to aggressively block third-party tracking many adtech products would cease to be useful. Would they do it though?
Google are certainly under pressure to so something. Privacy has become a strategic tool in the war for browser share. The conversation around privacy looks set to continue and Chrome cannot be seen to be the only browser not taking privacy seriously. However, their hands are also tied. If Google blocked third-party tracking completely then its adtech competitors would no-doubt raise anti-trust concerns.
There is much speculation about what a Google Cookie/Tracking blocking solution would look like, with most centred on some form of advertising ID similar to what is used in-app. The truth is that no-one outside of Google knows yet (and possibly no-one inside the company either). It does seem likely that there will be change though.