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Google Looks To Replace Cookies

After failing to launch their Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) and cutting the idea to replace cookies early this year Google are back with a new plan to replace cookies.

FLoC was axed in January due to regulatory issues and backlash from others in the industry. However, Google’s new plan, called Topics, is the company’s next and potentially final attempt at finding an alternative.

FLoC was littered with issues and met with strong opposition by privacy advocates, advertisers and internet providers. The backlash it was met with meant it never stood a chance.

Topics has been designed with the issues FLoC had in mind. It works by having your browser track your web activity, and then concludes on what you are interested in. If you frequent music pages or categories for live gigs and concerts frequently, it will double down by assigning you to the relevant category. Each week it will identify a new topic for you, keep track of the last five and then chuck in a sixth one to make user identification difficult.

This is similar to what Chrome does, by sharing your web activity with relevant advertisers.

The browsing information used to identify your interests never leaves your computer, meaning your search activity is kept private, while also allowing advertisers to show you relevant content. Compared to cookies, this is much more private.

Google have a deadline for Topics of 2023, and hope to eliminate the need for cookies with it.

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