Google is testing an experimental Chrome feature that lets you delete third-party browser cookies with a single click. This is a big improvement on the existing 'Clear browsing data' options, making it easy to stop companies tracking you around the web, without logging you out of any sites you're currently using.
The new option is available in Chrome Canary – an early release of the browser intended for developers and contains features that are still in testing. It's not enabled by default, but can be toggled by activating a new Chrome Flag.
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To give it a try, download Chrome Canary and enter chrome://flags/ in the address bar. Search for 'Enable removing SameSite=None cookies' and set the drop-down menu to 'Enabled'.
Restart the browser, then enter chrome://settings/siteData in the address bar to access the full list of cookies, and click the new 'Remove third-party cookies' button to erase them.
The way the cookie crumbles
We recently saw another experimental Chrome feature that will let you block third-party cookies completely with the click of a button, but it's good to see that Google is giving us granular control over how (and if) our activity is tracked.
Firefox now blocks all third-party tracking cookies by default, but understandably for a company funded largely by advertising, Google isn't keen to take such drastic action. It recently proposed an idea for a 'privacy sandbox', which would allow advertisers to serve targeted ads without receiving detailed information about an individual user's browsing habits.
It's an interesting idea, but would require an overhaul of the whole online advertising industry. For the time being, we appreciate Google putting control in our hands, and determine who has access to our data.