Google’s new initiative promotes a more privacy-oriented browser but also gives the search giant more power

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February 16, 2021 7:00 AM

At present, tracking history is based on individual data, the new system would anonymise personal data making tracking difficult. The user data and browsing history, in this case, would be out of advertisers’ purview.

The privacy focus can only work if the process is participative, and even the smaller advertisers have a say. Users also need to be given a choice. Brave, a new browsing service, rewards users for opting-in to watch advertisements.The privacy focus can only work if the process is participative, and even the smaller advertisers have a say. Users also need to be given a choice. Brave, a new browsing service, rewards users for opting-in to watch advertisements.

Apple, in 2017, announced that it would deploy intelligent tracking protection to avoid websites dropping cookies that are operational beyond 24 hours. Firefox followed it up with a complete ban on third-party cookies. Google may be late to do this, but, given its browser (Chrome) has a 64% market share, the pivot could mean crumbling of the cookie business. Google is introducing Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) model.

In a blog last month, Google said that FLoC can provide “effective replacement of third-party cookies” by allowing “at least 95% of the conversions per dollar spent when compared to cookie-based advertising.” Instead of tracking individual users, Google’s AI & ML algorithms would create groups of people or cohorts based on search preferences.

At present, tracking history is based on individual data, the new system would anonymise personal data making tracking difficult. The user data and browsing history, in this case, would be out of advertisers’ purview.

As revolutionary as FLoC may sound, it comes with its own set of issues. The dependence of advertisers on Google will increase. Even though Google has said that the system would be open-access, it has been facing criticism from the industry on how it has been conducting trials.

The privacy focus can only work if the process is participative, and even the smaller advertisers have a say. Users also need to be given a choice. Brave, a new browsing service, rewards users for opting-in to watch advertisements.

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