Google says FLoC testing in Chrome now won't start until next year

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Google has elongated the timeline for a few of the initiatives that are part of its larger plans to eliminate the use of third-party tracking cookies as part of its Privacy Sandbox initiative.

The news comes courtesy of Google’s latest update on the status of the initiative, which despite its positive verbiage, hasn’t been able to impress privacy advocates such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) who believe that the initiative is Google’s attempt to create a replacement for the third-party cookie.

“With this month’s schedule update we are slightly adjusting the timelines for a few proposals, including FLoC [Federated Learning of Cohorts] and Fledge,” Google noted in a statement shared with 9to5Google.

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The search giant adds that its teams are still ingesting the feedback from the web community they received during FLoC’s initial origin trial.

In good time

In its timeline Google depicts that all Privacy Sandbox proposals go through five stages, namely discussion, testing, ready for adoption, transition period: stage 1, and transition period: stage 2. APIs publicly tested in Chrome are marked as OT (origin trials).

Earlier in March, Google began limited trials of FLoC, its cohorts-based mechanism for serving targeted advertisements without relying on cross-site tracking cookies. These ran from Chrome 89-91 and ended in Q2 2021.

In the timeline published that month, a much wider testing for the FLoC APIs was initially scheduled to begin in Q4 2021. However, according to the revised timeline, Google has added another three months of discussion period, pushing back testing to Q1 2022. 

Also delayed is the availability of the User-Agent Reduction functionality, which is now set to begin in Q2 2022, as opposed to the second-half of 2022 announced earlier.

Via 9to5Google

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.