Google’s First Taste Of Life After Third-Party Cookies

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Google has taken one of the first steps towards removing third-party cookies from Chrome.

Starting today, Google will start rolling out a new version of Chrome that can prevent cross-site tracking.

Chrome 80 will enforce a new “secure-by-default cookie classification system”, which requires publishers using Chrome to show how third-party cookies work.

The changes mean cookies that are not correctly classified could effectively limit a website’s functionality.

how does it work?

Cookies will be restricted to first-party by default, meaning developers must explicitly mark all third-party cookies for access.

Google will be using the ‘SameSite’ attribute, which forces developers to indicate how certain cookies behave.

All cookies that are not given a SameSite attribute will be restricted to first-party only.

The changes mean third-party cookies will only be sent over the more secure HTTPS connections.

Although the new version of the browser is available today, Google will not start enforcing the new cookie classification system until later this month.

“This will make third-party cookies more secure and give users more precise browser cookie controls,” said Google director of Chrome engineering Justin Schuh.

why it matters

The classification changes mark the first of what will no doubt be a host of updates around Google Chrome and how it tracks users in the coming years.

Third-party cookies, which track user behaviour across the internet and allow advertisers to create targetted campaigns, are increasingly seen as an invasion of user privacy.

Google announced last year it would be removing the tracking technologies from its browser, which accounts for around 70 per cent of desktop and 40 per cent of mobile browser market share.

But the tech giant surprised many last month when it announced it was hoping to phase out third-party cookies within two years.

Moving away from cookies, Google will soon be opting for a ‘Privacy Sandbox’ as a way to protect user privacy while also promoting free access to content and promoting publishers.

“We are confident that with continued iteration and feedback, privacy-preserving and open-standard mechanisms like the Privacy Sandbox can sustain a healthy, ad-supported web in a way that will render third-party cookies obsolete,” Schuh said.

And while changes such as the latest Chrome update put increased pressure on publishers to ensure they are compliant, it seems the industry is prepared for life after cookies.

“Every major publisher has been working on a combination of publisher first-party data, signed on users, and standardised Universal IDs,” Rubicon Project country manager Rohan Creasey told B&T last month.

 

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