Google Chrome officially starts clamping down on third-party cookies

Google Chrome
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After years in the making, and following several announcements proclaiming its progress throughout 2023, Google has confirmed that it is on track to start disabling third-party cookies across its Chrome browser in a matter of weeks.

An internal email published online sees Google software engineer Johann Hofmann share with colleagues the company’s plan to switch off third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users from Q1 2024 – a plan that was shared months ago and that, surprisingly, remains on track, given the considerable pushbacks so far.

Hofmann explains that Google is still awaiting a UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) consultation in order to address any final concerns before Privacy Sandbox gets the go-ahead.

Google bids farewell to third-party cookies

After the initial testing period, the company will begin its phased rollout of the cookie replacement program from Q3 2024.

Hofmann explains that the deprecation of third-party cookies is designed to reduce cross-site tracking, but it will also present challenges to “sign-in, fraud protection, advertising, and generally the ability to embed rich, third-party content in websites.”

Privacy Sandbox consists of a series of APIs designed to address these needs, and was made generally available in September 2023.

Other browsers, like Firefox and Safari, have already disabled third-party cookies by default, but Hofmann reckons Google’s solution is even better, noting some minor differences in how they treat certain cookies:

“Chrome ships the more secure and more restrictive variant, and from initial conversations we are optimistic that other browsers will adopt it as well.”

Privacy Sandbox Developer Relations worker, Rowan Merewood, also recently shared guidance for web developers to prepare for the phase-out of third-party cookies, including auditing existing usage and testing for breakage.

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With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!