Google will soon let Chrome users block advanced tracking cookies, report suggests

Image: TechRadar

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.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (yes, she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing cameras and lenses, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She also contributes to Digital Camera World and T3, and helps produce two of Future's photography print magazines in Australia.