How advertisers will target you after the death of browser cookies

Next year, Alphabet Inc’s Google will follow Apple’s lead, natch, and phase out browser cookies in its Chrome browser that lets other companies track users’ web browsing. But that doesn’t mean users will see irrelevant ads or that those running shoes you checked out last week will stop following you around the web.

ad tracking

Paresh Dave and Sheila Dang for Reuters:

Cookies are a foundation of the web, allowing you to visit a news publisher without entering log-in credentials each time, for example.

But privacy activists say companies that develop online ad technology abuse cookies by tracking users across many websites and letting brands use the data to target ads.

Apple’s Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox and upstarts such as Brave have been at the forefront of restricting that practice, and now Chrome, the global market leader with about 60% share, is catching up.

For years, online ad technology companies including Google could tell a shoe retailer to personalize an ad to someone reading a Reuters.com article after having tracked that person the week before researching a shoe on Nike.com and checking for a specific color on FootLocker.com.

Under these new policies, that tracking across multiple websites is unfeasible.

As an alternative, Google is testing a way for businesses to target ads to clusters of consumers who have similar interests, which it says would be more private because it hides individual users in a crowd.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple leads. All others follow at a distance.

Google’s Group Product Manager, User Trust and Privacy, Chetna Bindra, blogs about Google’s Privacy Sandbox and shared progress on the path to eliminate third-party cookies here.

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