Google has been planning to eliminate cookies for years, and today is the first of many planned quiet periods.

About 30 million users, or 1% of the total, had their cookies disabled by the Chrome web browser as of this morning. Cookies will be permanently removed from Chrome by the end of the year—sort of.

Cookies are the original sin of the internet, according to privacy campaigners. For the majority of the internet’s existence, one of the main methods used by tech businesses to monitor your online activity was through cookies. Websites use cookies from third firms (like Google) for targeted adverts and many other forms of tracking. These are referred to as “third-party cookies,” and the internet’s infrastructure includes them. They are dispersed throughout. We may have sent you cookies if you visited Gizmodo without using an ad blocker or another type of tracking protection. Apologies.

On January 4, Google Will Disable Cookies for 30 Million Users
Google’s Technology to Eliminate Cookies Is Now in Almost All Chrome Browsers
Years of negative press about privacy violations by Google, Facebook, and other internet corporations in 2019 were so widespread that Silicon Valley was forced to respond. Google declared that it was starting a project to remove third-party cookies from Chrome. Google gets the great bulk of its money from tracking you and displaying adverts online. Since Chrome is used by almost 60% of internet users, Google’s decision to discontinue the technology will effectively eliminate cookies forever.

READ MORE: The Cookie Phase-Out Of Google Chrome: What You Should Know

Victor Wong, senior director of product management at Google for Privacy Sandbox, told Gizmodo in April 2023 that “we are making one of the largest changes to how the Internet works at a time when people, more than ever, are relying on the free services and content that the web offers.” “Maintaining people’s privacy on the free and open Internet is the goal of the Privacy Sandbox team, and this aligns with the company’s overarching goal of ensuring that information remains useful and accessible to all.”

First of all, on January 4, 2023, Google will begin its massive campaign to eradicate cookies. Here’s what you’ll see if you’re one of the 30 million people who get to enjoy a cookieless web.

How to determine whether Google disabled your cookies
The first thing that will appear in Chrome is a popup that will explain Google’s new cookie-murdering strategy, which it terms “Tracking Protection.” You might miss it if, like many of us, you react to pop-ups with considerable caution, frequently ignoring the contents of whatever messages your computer wants you to read.

You can check for more indicators to make sure you’re not getting a ton of cookies dropped on you. In the URL bar, there will be a small eyeball emblem if tracking protection is enabled.

If you wish to enable a certain website to use cookies on you, you can click on that eyeball. In fact, you should click on it because this change in Chrome is very certain to break some websites. The good news is that Chrome has a ton of new capabilities that, should it sense a website is having issues, will turn off Tracking Protection.

You can now go check the options in your browser. The “Privacy and security” area of Chrome’s settings contains a number of useful toggles and controls regarding cookies. If all of them are on and you don’t recall turning them off, you could be among the fortunate 30 million individuals who won in Google’s initial test phase.

READ MORE: “This Is Transformative”: The Reasons Google May Pay US Publishers Billions by 2024

You are still being tracked by Google, but it’s a little more discreet.
Naturally, Google has no intention of ruining its own company. It also doesn’t want to harm other businesses that rely on advertising revenue, as Google is now defending itself against multiple cases from authorities who claim the corporation has a monopoly on the internet. Thus, Google is replacing cookies with a new tracking mechanism that gathers your data in a way that is considerably more private according to Google.

This project is known by Google as the “Privacy Sandbox.” It uses a number of incredibly complex tools and technology. The Chrome browser will generally track your online activities, but instead of transferring that information to Google or another party, it keeps it locally on your device. Chrome then divides you into many categories according to your personality type. Websites and advertising agencies have the ability to inquire about Chrome users’ cohorts, such as those who are interested in hair removal or high-performance vehicle parts. But without breaching Google’s policies, there’s no way for a corporation to find out about your specific browsing habits.

This is preferable to the current situation, in which billions of extremely private bits of information about you are flying around the internet. Since you’re being tracked, it’s also not really privacy. Third-party cookies were long since prohibited by other browsers like Firefox, DuckDuckGo, and Apple’s Safari; these browsers haven’t replaced the tracking cookies with any new, more private ones.

Google argues that it cannot stop the flow of data to any of its rivals without running the danger of facing the full weight of anti-monopoly enforcement in the US, the EU, and other regions. Nevertheless, not everyone is happy with Chrome’s new data policy.

READ MORE: Google Will Settle The App Store Lawsuit By Paying Consumers And The United States $700 Million

In a recent blog post, the Electronic Frontier Foundation claimed that “Google and its subsidiary companies have tightened their grip on the throat of internet innovation, all while employing the now familiar tactic of marketing these things as beneficial for users.” With Google’s Privacy Sandbox, tracking is “limited so it’s only done by Chrome itself, a single powerful party that gets to distribute its learnings to advertisers that are willing to pay.” This completes the process of changing the browser’s function from that of a user agent to that of an advertising agent.

Installing the Privacy Badger browser plugin, which automatically disables Chrome’s new tracking settings and stops various forms of data harvesting as you browse the web, is advised by the EFF for Chrome users.

While many advertising agencies have embraced Google’s new tracking capabilities, others see it as a threat to their ability to operate in an anticompetitive manner. Stated differently, some members of the IT sector feel that Privacy Sandbox and the recent Chrome modifications are too private, while privacy activists feel that they are not private enough.

I questioned Victor Wong of Google last year about his thoughts on starting a project that enrages people on all sides of the controversy. It was to be expected, his response.

Wong stated, “I believe it’s telling us that we’re doing things right.” We’ve just decided to go in the direction that we believe benefits everyone because, as I mentioned earlier, we’re a part of a larger ecosystem. Our goal is to make customers’ lives better while also enhancing the standard of living for publishers, producers, developers, and business owners worldwide. It is impossible to achieve complete agreement on a single strategy from all these disparate parties.

Will cookies ever disappear? Alright, no.
Ever wonder what a cookie is really made of? It’s essentially a text file made up of a string of characters and numbers that are specific to you—or at least to the pages you’ve recently seen. These cookies are stored by websites in your browser, and each time you visit a website, it looks to see whether it has recognized your cookies. Data about you is checked in databases using that.

Cookies run by the website you are currently viewing are referred to as “first-party cookies.” These might even be beneficial and safe. First-party cookies can be used to remember what you’ve put to your basket or to track your login status. These cookies are here to stay, thanks to Google and a large number of satisfied users.

But generally speaking, such third-party cookies are employed to eavesdrop on you. As you recall, we discussed third-party cookies at the beginning of this article. How on earth did you descend here without having read that? Online advertising corporations can monitor every website you visit and your activities while on it thanks to third-party cookies. It’s these that Google is eliminating. RIP.


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