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    Google delays end of third-party cookies for third time

    Google has announced it is delaying the end of third-party cookies in its Chrome browser due to regulatory oversight in the UK. 

    This delay marks the third time Google has pushed back its original deadline set in January 2020.

    In a statement, Google said it recognises there are ongoing challenges related to reconciling divergent feedback from the industry, regulators, and developers.

    “We will continue to engage closely with the entire ecosystem,” the statement read.

    “It’s also critical that the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has sufficient time to review all evidence including results from industry tests, which the CMA has asked market participants to provide by the end of June. Given both of these significant considerations, we will not complete third-party cookie deprecation during the second half of Q4.”

    The tech giant’s original promise was that third-party cookies would vanish from Chrome by the end of 2024, but the CMA raised 39 “concerns” to be addressed before the plan could proceed back in January. 

    A spokesperson from the CMA said it welcomes Google’s announcement clarifying the timing of third-party cookie deprecation. 

    “This will allow time to assess the results of industry tests and resolve remaining issues,” the spokesperson said.

    “Under the commitments, Google has agreed to resolve our remaining competition concerns before going ahead with third-party cookie deprecation. Working closely with the ICO we expect to conclude this process by the end of 2024.”

    James McDonald, co-founder and director of Audience Group said that the news of Google’s delay is irrelevant to anyone who is thinking beyond traditional digital performance media strategies. 

    “Cookies have been deprecated in non-Chrome browsers for a long time. Anyone who isn’t prepared with a first-party data strategy and a non-pixel measurement strategy, should not delay,” he said.

    “A non-cookie targeting approach using your first-party data will be at least as good as a cookie-based approach and it sets you up for post-cookie world while also allowing you to better target iOS devices and non-Chrome browsers.”

    Google’s replacement for third-party cookies is The Privacy Sandbox. It’s an initiative led by Google to create web standards for websites to access user information without compromising privacy.

    Founder and director of ZRO FOX David Gaskill added that anybody involved in testing Privacy Sandbox and the alternative solutions will attest that Google isn’t ready. 

    “It’s widely recognised that Google’s proposed alternatives to third-party cookies are not up to scratch, but fortunately, others in the market are creating solutions that are,” he said. 

    “Data ownership for brands, extending beyond their first-party audience data, is critical to long-term success. With Gen AI looming large on the horizon as an integral part of all business, the best way to prepare for the future is to have owned data inform all aspects of strategy and business.

    “Today’s news has once again demonstrated why smart brands and businesses are investing in owning their own data and diversification. Relying on and paying for big tech is like sitting on a freeway in neutral.”

    Head of media at Orange Line, Gavin Chew, said that the delay of the end of third-party cookies is unsurprising, and stressed that it’s important that Google gets it right. 

    “It’s super important that Google gets this right, especially since Chrome has the biggest piece of the pie in terms of users,” he said. 

    “At the moment, Privacy Sandbox isn’t living up to what was promised, and the issues that have been flagged seem to say it gives Google an advantage. It’s almost like they build the car, they drive the car, and they create the road at the moment

    Google said it remains committed to engaging closely with the CMA and ICO and hopes to conclude that process this year.

    “Assuming we can reach an agreement, we envision proceeding with third-party cookie deprecation starting early next year.”

    The post Google delays end of third-party cookies for third time appeared first on Mediaweek.

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