Google today (May 18) shared more details about its Privacy Sandbox initiative and plans to deprecate third-party cookies in Chrome, providing a more concrete timeline for the first time.
In the first quarter of 2024, Google is planning to deprecate third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users in a move that will allow developers to test the readiness and effectiveness of their cookieless products in real-world environments. In advance of that move, Google in the fourth quarter of 2023 will allow developers to simulate deprecation for a configurable percentage of their users to test higher levels of traffic.
The news follows several delays by Google on the timeline for cookie deprecation, which was first announced in 2020. Still, the company has been testing alternatives and clearly remains committed to eliminating third-party cookies, which, while a building block of digital marketing, have proven problematic due to issues with privacy and transparency. While marketers know the change is coming, many have themselves been slow to embrace alternative solutions for targeting digital users. A more concrete timeline could give the push they need to get started.
The latest announcement provides more details about what advertisers, agencies and ad-tech companies can expect in the run-up to the full deprecation of third-party cookies in Chrome, which is still set for the second half of 2024. Several players that have been actively preparing for the cookieless future by testing Google's Privacy Sandbox solutions weighed in on the latest news in a Google blog post.
"Increased traffic and cookieless testing options will significantly help the evaluation of the Privacy Sandbox solutions, such as Protected Audience, and the preparedness for Chrome’s third-party cookie deprecation," said Paul Ryan, CTO of programmatic ad exchange OpenX.
"We are ready to test on increased volume, plan to conduct scaled developer experiments and look forward to collaborating across the programmatic supply chain on them," added Lukasz Wlodarczyk, vice president of programmatic ecosystem growth and innovation at martech firm RTB House. "We believe that the test results will enable us to further refine our solutions based on the privacy-preserving APIs so that they can compete on an equal footing with legacy technologies that rely on 3rd party cookies.”