Show an ad over header. AMP

Google says goodbye to individual user tracking

Google made clear Wednesday that after it finished phasing out third-party cookies over the next year or so, it won't introduce other forms of identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web.

Why it matters: The move comes amid increased scrutiny over the way tech giants use consumer data to reinforce their dominance, particularly around personalized advertising.


Details: At this point, most of the advertising industry is preparing for third-party tracking cookies, which allow advertisers to follow users with personalized ads from one website to another, to be phased out entirely.

  • But many ad tech companies are building work-around solutions so that advertisers can still target people on the web using other types of individual identifier technologies.
  • Google's announcement is significant in that it's committing to avoiding work-arounds that would continue to allow tracking at the individual level, saysDavid Temkin, Google's director of product management for ads privacy and trust.
  • Temkin argues that such work-arounds will inevitably fail to meet the evolving privacy expectations of consumers and regulators.

Be smart: Google isn't making these adjustments solely in response to regulatory pressure, but also to reduce consumer discomfort.

  • "If digital advertising doesn't evolve to address the growing concerns people have about their privacy and how their personal identity is being used, we risk the future of the free and open web," Temkin said in a blog post.
  • He notes that Google will still use first-party data, or data it collects from users directly, to target ads on its own publishing platforms, like YouTube. Temkin says the company is looking to encourage other web publishers to develop stronger direct relationships with users so that they can similarly target their ads with first-party data.

The big picture: For decades, advertisers relied on cookies to track users across the web and to retarget them with ads, most heavily on computers as opposed to mobile devices. Now, privacy-oriented efforts to phase out cookies by browser makers — Google and rivals Apple and Mozilla — are forcing the digital marketing industry to adjust.

  • Google first debuted its efforts to reform its privacy standards last year by introducing a new initiative called the "Privacy Sandbox," a proposed set of rules to phase out cookies in a privacy-friendly manner in consulation with the industry.

What to watch: Google said last year that it plans to phase out support for third-party cookies in Chrome within the next two years, but it only recently has begun starting to talk about what might replace cookies.

  • Last month, Google said that new test results of its solution, called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), show promising results.
  • The system builds a map of user behavior and then looks for matches for "people like you" without ever storing or retrieving individual personal information.
  • Temkin said that this approach will be a key part of Google's future strategy and technology to target ads.

Go deeper:

Czech Republic expels 18 Russian diplomats over 2014 depot explosion

Czech police on Saturday connected two Russian men suspected of carrying out a poisoning attack in Salisbury, England, with a deadly ammunition depot explosion southeast of the capital, Prague, per Reuters.

Driving the news: Czech officials announced Saturday they're expelling 18 Russian diplomats they accuse of being involved in the blast in Vrbetice, AP notes. Czech police said later they're searching for two men carrying several passports — including two named Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

Keep reading... Show less

Indianapolis mass shooting suspect legally bought 2 guns, police say

The suspected gunman in this week's mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis legally purchased two assault rifles believed to have been used in the attack, police said late Saturday.

Of note: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's statement that Brandon Scott Hole, 19, bought the rifles last July and September comes a day after the FBI said in a statement to news outlets that a "shotgun was seized" from the suspect in March 2020 after his mother raised concerns about his mental health.

Keep reading... Show less

U.S. and China agree to cooperate on climate action, but details remain to be negotiated

Despite an increasingly tense relationship, the U.S. and China agreed Saturday to work together to tackle global climate change, including by "raising ambition" for emissions cuts during the 2020s — a key goal of the Biden administration.

Why it matters: The joint communique released Saturday evening commits the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases to work together to keep the most ambitious temperature target contained in the Paris Climate Agreement viable by potentially taking additional emissions cuts prior to 2030.

Keep reading... Show less

"We couldn't do two things at once": Biden defends not immediately raising refugee cap

President Biden on Saturday sought to explain why he didn't immediately lift the Trump administration's historically low refugee cap.

Driving the news: Several Democrats accused Biden Friday of not fulfilling his pledge to raise the limit after it was announced he'd keep the cap. The White House said later it would be raised by May 15. Biden told reporters Saturday, "We're going to increase the number."

Keep reading... Show less

Children of color in rural areas battle deep health care disparities

Living in the nation's poorest, most rural communities can be a death sentence for African American and Native American children.

Why it matters: Lack of health care and healthy food make Black and indigenous childrenin the nation’s most disadvantaged counties five times as likely to die as children in other areas of the country,the advocacy group Save the Children found after analyzing federal data.

Keep reading... Show less

How telehealth can narrow racial disparities

Data: CDC; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Racial disparities have been a constant problem in maternal health care, from rising death rates to the threat of severe COVID-19 among pregnant women. But now experts are hopeful that telehealth can help narrow those disparities.

Why it matters: It's not a complete solution to the racial barriers women of color face. But some experts are optimistic that telehealth — long-distance health care through videoconferences and other technology — can help reduce those barriers by offering flexibility in appointments and better access to diverse providers.

Keep reading... Show less

Capitol Hill's far right pushes Anglo-Saxon values, European architecture

Multiple far-right House Republicans have begun planning and promoting an America First Caucus aimed at pushing "uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions," Punchbowl News first reported.

The big picture: "The document was being circulated as the GOP is struggling to determine a clear direction as it prepares to try winning back control of the House and Senate in the 2022 elections," AP writes.

Keep reading... Show less

Super Typhoon Surigae rapidly intensifies to a Cat. 5 near Philippines

Super Typhoon Surigae surged in intensity from a Category 1 storm on Friday to a beastly Category 5 monster on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 180 mph with higher gusts.

Why it matters: This storm — known as Typhoon Bising in the Philippines — is just the latest of many tropical cyclones to undergo a process known as rapid intensification, a feat that studies show is becoming more common due to climate change.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories