Google is tightening its Chrome browser’s privacy controls, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab). Sources familiar with the matter have told the publication that the search giant is getting ready to launch a “dashboard-like” tool on Chrome that would show more details about tracking cookies and provide options to limit them.
If this comes to pass, it will be a significant move from Google, considering rival browsers (like Firefox and Safari) already have some amount of cookie blocking controls built-in, and Google’s business is modelled around targeted advertising.
The tool is likely not going to affect Google’s own tracking scripts but could significantly harm digital advertising firms who rely on cookies to sell online ads. It also gives Google an unfair advantage over advertising rivals but it could also increase the trust users have in its product.
Long time coming
According to the Journal, the tool is six years in the making and could be released “as soon as this week”, meaning we could hear the announcement during Google’s I/O 2019 conference.
Sources say that the delay in launching the new privacy tool was due to technical issues, and also because the tech giant was reportedly in talks with advertising companies to gauge how the changes would affect them. However, Google stepped up its efforts after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal broke.
Google isn’t the only company to ramp up privacy on its browser. Microsoft today announced a slew of new features for its new Chromium-based Edge browser, among which are three levels of privacy controls that customize how third parties can track users across the web.