Googles plan to replace cookies with its own Topics API

Google’s plan to replace cookies with its own Topics API protocol is in jeopardy – rejected by W3C

Since 2020, Google has been testing disabling cookies in the Chrome browser as part of its privacy sandbox initiative. The company plans to implement its new Topics API standard starting in 2024, which will allow advertisers to target ads based on broad topics based on browsing history instead of collecting cookies. This is to avoid user identification for ad technology providers.

Third-party cookies are small files placed on a user’s device that allow advertisers and advertising companies to track users as they browse different websites on the internet. For example, they allow a hotel to target ads to users who have previously visited their website and help advertisers measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. Google offers a more confidential replacement.

But now Google may have to redesign the proposed protocol. Recently, the web standards arm of the World Wide Web Consortium, known as the W3C, asked Google to stop developing the Topics API as it stands. “The proposed API seems to continue the policy of inappropriate surveillance on the internet and we do not want it to be further developed.”wrote Amy Guy of the W3C Technical Architecture Group in a Github post.

Amy also noted that the Topics API allows a third party to process and combine user data to create profiles based on it. This in turn can be used to discriminate against content such as For example, the ability to choose which ads to show to user groups based on sensitive and proprietary characteristics such as a person’s race.

Google contradicted this statement. “We are confident that this The API will offer significant privacy improvements over third-party cookies and we continue to develop it.”a Google spokesman said in a statement.

At the moment, the Topics API has not received any support from the developers of the Firefox and Safari browsers. Robin Berjon, head of standards and governance at research firm Protocol Labs and W3C board member, says the Topics API as it stands has little chance of adoption. “No other browser vendor wants that, and the leading authority on web architecture has denied it.”he said.

Other browsers such as Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox already block third-party cookies as privacy features. Despite objections from the W3C, Google can still go its own way, not least because web standards can take years to develop and the company is not limited to them. Google has its own commercial priorities and cannot refuse cookies until it provides a reasonable substitute for them.

“The Topics API is particularly important to Google because it’s relatively easy to implement and test.said Alex Cone, co-founder of Coir, an educational platform on privacy in advertising. — If they think it’s of value to advertisers, they will.”.

About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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