Google postpones dreaded ‘cookiepocalypse’ yet again

Kareem Anderson


Apple may have already ripped the band-aid off its third-party cookie tracking situation with its iOS 14 updated on mobile devices a year ago, but it seems Google is still easing itself into position with yet another two-year window added to its proposed removal timeframe.

Google initially planned to replace its customary cookie tracking solutions which enabled advertisers access to swaths of anonymized user data, for a proposed Privacy Sandbox alternative by 2022.

However, Google Privacy Sandbox vice president Anthony Chavez is asking for another two years to “begin the process of phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome.”

The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome. This feedback aligns with our commitment to the CMA to ensure that the Privacy Sandbox provides effective, privacy-preserving technologies and the industry has sufficient time to adopt these new solutions. This deliberate approach to transitioning from third-party cookies ensures that the web can continue to thrive, without relying on cross-site tracking identifiers or covert techniques like fingerprinting.

For these reasons, we are expanding the testing windows for the Privacy Sandbox APIs before we disable third-party cookies in Chrome.

While the pandemic may have disrupted Google’s initial roadmap with a 2022 date in mind, there were regulatory concerns that had the company target 2023 as an alternative timeframe instead.

Google - Cookies roadmap

In the meantime, Google is undergoing heavy testing of its new Privacy Sandbox solution with embedded technologies from both Fledge and Topics API.

Despite the publicly announced update to the rollout of Privacy Sandbox, Google is hard at work on testing the new APIs and getting the solution ready for millions of users globally by August of 2022 for preview.

An earlier test of Topics API has had developers optimistic with the changes Google has made up until this point but believe the company has some work to do to make current iterations of FLoC more approachable and more secure.

Google’s definitely attempting to walk a tight rope with the deprecation and replacement of cookie tracking with its less invasive Privacy Sandbox, but we’ll have to wait just a bit longer to see if they can pull off the transition without tanking their own advertising business in the process.