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Google has announced a major new initiative around its Chrome browser that will introduce significant long-term changes in the way Chrome manages cookies and improves the privacy of its users on the web.
With this step, Google makes cookies more private and adds new anti-fingerprinting technology to its browser. Although some of the changes are taking place here in the Chrome browser, developers will also have to adapt to this change and adapt their cookies to this new reality.
Chrome allows users to delete all these cookies without affecting cookies in individual domains that retain elements such as logins and preferences. Users also receive clear information about the websites that have set these cookies so that they can make informed choices about how their information is used.
Improve cookie control in Chrome
Some experts have questioned whether Google should follow the same rules as third parties and whether, if Google cookies were blocked, the browser would still be able to track a user with a Google ID if they were logged in.
The mechanism used by Google is based on the SameSite cookie attribute of the website, with technical details available on web.dev.
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In the coming months, Chrome will require developers to use this mechanism to access their cookies on websites, says Google.
Of course, there is also control over users who will be able to delete cookies they do not want while maintaining the connections and settings provided by cookies for individual domains. People can make much more informed choices about how their information is used if clear information is provided on websites that have created certain types of cookies, says Google.
Google has also released new transparency tools that work in addition to existing features such as Ad Settings and Mute this ad. A new open source browser extension will inform users about the different intermediaries involved in placing and targeting a particular Google ad. Google will make the extension available for different browsers and encourage other ad networks to support the system through an open API system.
This is a more granular system than the similar privacy measures already available in Safari and Firefox, which automatically block many third-party trackers. (But in the case of Safari, they largely ignore tracking not based on cookies.) With Google’s deeply integrated login cookies, the system will not limit Google’s ability to see what you are doing online. But given Chrome’s immense popularity, the new feature has the potential to significantly alter the balance of the online advertising ecosystem already dominated by Google and Facebook.
Google and other major technology companies are under enormous pressure to at least give users the impression that their privacy is in order and in the hands of users. Since the outbreak of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the public and regulators have become aware of how technology companies devour and benefit from user data. Transparency, information and choice – not the end or even the slowdown of online data collection practices – have been the technology industry’s response.
Apple has taken several steps on Facebook to establish itself as a privacy-friendly company. Facebook has attempted to transform itself into a privacy company, although it has not disclosed details about how it will better mitigate or protect the collection of your data. Today, Google is stepping up its efforts (after also focusing on privacy during last year’s I/Os).
But Google’s new cookie feature can’t stop the biggest seller of your data: Google. Intentionally or not, this new “privacy” feature also serves to consolidate Google’s knowledge and ability to sell everything about you.
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