- Google revealed plans to update how cookies are handled by Chrome at Google I/O, the Silicon Valley's annual developer conference and in a blog post. The new privacy settings promise to give consumers more control over how their browsing via Chrome is tracked and shared with third-parties, while maintaining first-party data.
- Going forward, developers will need to specify which cookies work across sites, and therefore could be used for tracking, and which ones are for a single domain, helping users save their logins and settings. This change will make it easier for users to block third-party tracking while retaining user preferences on a site.
- Chrome will also add restrictions to fingerprinting — a tracking method that be used when users have opted out of third-party tracking. If a consumer has opted out of third-party tracking, then advertisers will not be able to use fingerprinting to personalize ads. In addition, advertisers will not be allowed to bring fingerprinting data into Google's advertising products.
Google wants to get in front of the situation as consumers and regulators take a closer look at how Internet companies are storing and using data about their behavior. With stricter data privacy regulations already in place in Europe and starting to make their way to the U.S., the company is giving consumers more control and reducing advertiser access while still maintaining its own position with regards to data.
By giving consumers more control, and arguably better controls — the ability to turn off advertiser tracking, but still save the password to your bank account — the company is putting its best foot forward and trying to position itself as user friendly.
"Our experience shows that people prefer ads that are personalized to their needs and interests, but only if those ads offer transparency, choice, and control," Google engineering VP Prabhakar Raghavan said in the blog post.
However, Google's new privacy push for Chrome could present challenges to ad tech companies, as The Wall Street Journal points out, as these companies will be shut off from useful consumer data. The move to eradicate fingerprinting will further cut other players in the ecosystem from targeting ads to consumers that opt to turn off tracking. Just how significant the news will be for digital media stakeholders remains to be seen, but given Chrome's dominance in web browsing — it has a 65% share of desktop browsing — there is likely to be some pain.
Google, on the other hand, will strengthen its dominance in the digital advertising business, as the WSJ points out, since it will still have access to this consumer behavior.