Originally published on January 27, 2021, this article has been updated to include an explainer video and to reflect Google renaming FLEDGE to Protected Audience in April 2023.
Despite Google’s commitment to finding a privacy-safe alternative to third-party cookies by 2022, the company is still only tinkering with cookie replacement concepts.
Google has gathered its evolving collection of ad targeting and measurement methods in what it calls a Privacy Sandbox. This is an iterative process — “sandbox” in software parlance refers to a testing environment, after all. But in this case, Google is keeping observers updated as things develop.