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Google’s cookie jar is emptyINTL

Google’s cookie jar is empty

Google is officially on a zero-calorie diet after introducing an alternative to third-party cookies. The new system, called Federated Learning of Cohorts (or FLoC, for short), provides more privacy for users.

The new technology allows advertisers to create tailored ads by clustering groups of individuals that display similar browsing habits (aka cohorts) without risking individuals’ privacy. Google scores bonus points for discarding cohorts that contain sensitive browsing activity (such as governments and medical websites). Since FLoC is built into Chrome itself, users’ browsing history won’t be transmitted to third parties.

Stay tuned for the full implementation as FLoC, though — it’s currently still in beta test mode.

why it matters
Ads make up over 80% of Google's yearly revenue — but, privacy has been an issue for a few years now. Many companies have already banned third-party cookies (eg Firefox and Safari), but for those that rely heavily on advertising (hi, Facebook!), we can expect anonymization and aggregation of data to also be their preferred route in the future.