Google says it’s taking the move to protect user privacy. It’s part of a broader shift in the industry as marketers such as Apple and regulators in the U.K., U.S. and elsewhere increasingly are seeking ways to phase out more egregious data collection practices.
Still, there are concerns that it will add to the tech giant’s already dominant power in online advertising. And the change won’t affect Google’s largest advertising moneymakers: Search and YouTube.
“There’s a growing idea that if you can’t persuade consumers to part with their data willingly, you probably don’t deserve it,” said Brian Wieser, global president of business intelligence at media agency GroupM. “Consumers are more aware of their data being used unwittingly. Brands (thinking long term) are asking ‘do you really want to irritate consumers with messages that create a perception of privacy being violated in some form?’ No.”
The digital giant already said it would remove so-called third party cookies from Chrome. Those are snippets of code used by advertisers to record users’ web-browsing histories in order to target personalized ads. Third-party cookies have long been a key tool for marketers to deliver targeted ads, but they’ve also been a source of privacy concerns since they trace users across the Internet in ways they might not be aware of.
The company said it won’t replace those cookies with another way of tracking individuals. Instead, Google proposes grouping together web users with similar interests and keeping web histories private on user devices. Google can still track users through its own services like Search or Maps.
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