Google has announced that it’s pushing back its plan to phase out third-party tracking cookies in the Chrome browser from 2022 to 2023.
The tech giant said Thursday that it needed more time to develop and test alternatives to third-party cookies, as well as give websites more time to adopt the changes.
“While there’s considerable progress with this initiative, it’s become clear that more time is needed across the ecosystem to get this right,” Vinay Goel, Director of Privacy Engineering at Chrome, wrote in a blog post.
The company said it’s continuing to work with regulators and the web community to develop alternatives to third-party cookies that would preserve users’ privacy. But Google said moving too fast in deploying the changes could encourage tracking companies to deploy tracking methods that are more covert than cookies, like fingerprinting.
Cookies are used by websites to track users across multiple sites for ad-targeting and fraud detection purposes and can be cleared, but fingerprints cannot be cleared.
"We need to move at a responsible pace, allowing sufficient time for public discussion on the right solutions and for publishers and the advertising industry to migrate their services," Goel said. "This is important to avoid jeopardizing the business models of many web publishers which support freely available content."
Working on changes
Google is aiming to have Chrome’s cookie-blocking alternative ready to go by 2023, “subject to our engagement with the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).” The end goal is to come up with something that addresses the needs of users, publishers, and advertisers while guarding against any potential workarounds.
“Once testing is complete and APIs are launched in Chrome, we will announce the start of stage 1,” Google said. “During stage 1, publishers and the advertising industry will have time to migrate their services. We expect this stage to last for nine months, and we will monitor adoption and feedback carefully before moving to stage 2. Stage 2 (Starting mid-2023): Chrome will phase out support for third-party cookies over a three month period finishing in late 2023.”