In January 2020, Google announced that it would be devaluing third-party cookies within two years “to make the web more private and secure for users, while also supporting publishers.” While some advertisers considered shifting their budgets and ad tech vendors scrambled to come up with new ways to stay relevant, some publishers wondered if there would be an opportunity for them to regain a foothold with their users’ first-party data. However, when Google announced its “privacy sandbox” and Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) ad-targeting solutions, many pointed out that these suggestions as designed largely benefited Google. Some government regulators are investigating whether FLoC is anticompetitive – both the UK and EU announced plans. These investigations may be partially behind Google’s announcement on June 24 that it would delay the phasing out of third-party cookies in Chrome to “late 2023.” In a blog post, product manager Vinay Goel said, “It’s become clear that more time is needed across the ecosystem to get this right.”
Members of the News/Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.