Why does this matter? Great question. Cookies enable advertisers to track users and are effectively the backbone of programmatic advertising. While getting rid of ‘em is an important step forward in the world of privacy, it will likely send tremors through the digital marketing industry, from targeting to measurement.

Google plans to implement its Privacy Sandbox initiative to solve for conversion measurement and interest-based advertising in a cookie-less world, but no matter how you look at it, the advertising industry will be [Charles Bradley voice] gooooooing through chaaaaanges.

Should we panic?

Not yet, there’s still time. The fact that Google announced its Privacy Sandbox plans to drop support for third-party cookies isn’t exactly surprising, given all the privacy hubbub days.

What is surprising, however, is the timeline on which it plans to do it. Because unlike competitors Safari and Firefox, which have already started blocking cookies, Google is taking a more measured approach.

Google director for Chrome engineering Justin Schuh wrote in a blog post that Google plans to “phase out” third-party cookies by rendering them “obsolete,” and that the tech giant’s “intention is to do this within two years.”

So why the hold-up?

Schuh wrote that other browsers (*cough* competitors *cough*) have reacted to privacy concerns by blocking third-party cookies outright, but that this can cause “unintended consequences” such as fingerprinting, “an invasive workaround to replace cookies” that can “actually reduce user privacy and control.” (You know, in case the name “fingerprinting” didn’t give that away.)

As The Verge succinctly put it, the battle is between “browser makers to remake the future of privacy on the web,” but it’s not “just whether and how to implement that tech, but when.”

From the Verge:

“On the one hand are browsers like Safari and Firefox, browsers with code that increasingly take an absolutist stance against cross-site tracking. On the other is Google and Chrome, whose developers are trying to cut down on tracking without kneecapping revenue for websites. … Google wants to wait a bit, Apple and Firefox believe the crisis is already too big and have already started blocking third-party cookies — perhaps before there’s a viable replacement for some use cases (and in some cases, they may not want there to be one).”

theCLIKK’s Take: Google is moving slowly here as they have a lot more to lose than Apple or Firefox. Google is the world’s largest online advertising company. Its entire business model is built upon the buying and selling of ads. In the two years to come, they will find a way to give advertisers what they need to run targeted ads while protecting the privacy of its users.

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