Google Chrome will soon stop cookies entirely - but probably not for you

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Google's process to remove third-party cookies from its Chrome browser has taken another step forward, but only a small amount of users will initially benefit from the move.

The company has revealed that a whopping 1% of Google Chrome users will no longer be troubled by cookies by "early 2024", with other users seeing a phasing out by Q3 2024.

With Google claiming Chrome has billions of users worldwide, this should mean around 10-30 million fans will enjoy the initial move, with the rest of us just having to wait a little longer.

Farewell cookies on Chrome

"If your site uses third-party cookies it's time to take action as we approach their deprecation," Rowan Merewood, Google's Developer Relations for Privacy Sandbox wrote in a Chrome for Developers blog post.

"Our goal with the Privacy Sandbox is to reduce cross-site tracking while still enabling the functionality that keeps online content and services freely accessible by everyone. Deprecating and removing third-party cookies encapsulates the challenge, as they enable critical functionality across sign-in, fraud protection, advertising, and generally the ability to embed rich, third-party content in your sites—but at the same time they're also the key enablers of cross-site tracking."

Merewood noted that the initially small sample size was part of Google's efforts to address remaining concern from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which had investigated the company for its dominance of the online browser market.

The CMA's thinking is that Google Chrome's ramping up of third-party cookie removal should give users the opportunity to switch to another competing browser if they choose.

Google is now telling website admins that from the start of 2024, they should start to see more and more Chrome users with third-party cookies disabled, and they should ensure their sites are prepared for this by checking their specific needs and controls when it comes to cookie usage and controls.

The move coincides with the company's ongoing work on the Privacy Sandbox, which replaces cookie controls and rolled out with Chrome 115 back in July 2023. The core tenets of the Privacy Sandbox include eliminating the sharing of cookie data between websites, and processing data on-device but away from apps and external servers, restricting their access to that data.

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Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.