Browsers Respond to Consumer Distaste for CookiesMarch 26, 2020
Google in January announced plans to phase out support for third-party cookies in its Chrome web browser over the next two years.
Cookies, which are used to track consumers from one website to the next and which are responsible for most of the advertising that consumers see on the web, are already blocked by Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox browsers.
“Users are demanding greater privacy, including transparency, choice, and control over how their data is used, and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands,” wrote Justin Schuh, Google’s director of engineering for Chrome, in a blog post. “Some browsers have reacted to these concerns by blocking third-party cookies, but we believe this has unintended consequences that can negatively impact both users and the web ecosystem.”
Randy Wootton, president and general manager of Percolate, a Seismic company, says Google’s move to retire third-party cookies is sending shock waves throughout the marketing industry, “and for good reason.”
“This might be a huge step back in personalization and compelling storytelling because marketers simply cannot deliver consistent experiences across walled gardens without some kind of data sharing. To date, tracking cookies have played a huge role in their ability to do this, so it’s no surprise that many are nervous that the largest search browser and digital publisher is following others’ footsteps and doing away with them,” Wootton says.
Kyle Henderick, senior director of client services at Yes Marketing, a provider of cross-channel marketing solutions, favors the move to eliminate cookies, calling it “a long overdue evolution that sophisticated marketers have already begun putting into place.”
Diaz Nesamoney, founder and CEO of Jivox, a digital marketing technology provider, says the Google announcement is the latest initiative toward the industry taking consumer data privacy more seriously. At the same time, he thinks it’s already too late for companies to completely regain consumer trust.
But while interest in cookies wanes, tech and marketing insiders are largely unsure of the alternatives.
In the place of cookies, Google hopes to lay down a set of alternatives that might be less invasive and annoying. This includes an effort that began in February whereby Chrome limits insecure, cross-site tracking access to cookies without a SameSite label as first-party-only. It will also require cookies labeled for third-party use to be accessed over HTTPS.
Google is also working on increased security to protect consumers using search engines or visiting websites through its browser. It began this effort in August with its introduction of Privacy Sandbox, a secure environment for personalization that aggregates user data and keeps more of it on the device rather than storing it in the…