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(Photo : Pexels/Deepanker Verma) Google chrome extension third party cookies

Google is now starting to test its replacement for third-party cookies. However, DuckDuckGo, an internet search engine, already stated that it wants to block that tech with its Chrome extension.

DuckDuckGo on Google's latest extension

Google's FLoC, or Federated Learning of Cohorts, the technology created to be a more privacy-centered way to track users and serve ads to them, but some privacy advocates, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have claimed that it could be harmful to consumers.

According to The Verge, FLoC works to sort users into groups based on their online behavior. Advertisers can target those groups instead of individual people.

Also Read: The Future of Data and Privacy is Synthesization

Privacy advocates argue that, while it is better than the third-party cookie situation, FLoC IDs could still be bad for consumers, containing very sensitive information as well as providing another data point that lets the advertisers identify you.

DuckDuckGo stated that it agrees with the concerns of users in its blog post, where it announced that the latest version of its Chrome extension would prevent websites from tracking users through their FLoC identification.

The company notes that the extension update will have to be approved by Google before it becomes available to users.

Aside to the extension update, DuckDuckGo stated that its search engine will opt out of collecting FLoC IDs and using them to identify or advertise to users, regardless of whether the user is using its Chrome extension or not.

The stance does not come as a surprise for a Google competitor, especially one that uses privacy of users as its main selling point.

But it does speak to the idea that FLoC will not be universally accepted. Like with third-party tracking cookies before it, FLoC may be destined to be a part of a race between advertisers and users who do not want to be tracked online.

The technology itself is not out of the testing phase just yet, but other companies are already looking to block it from launching.

Google's third-party cookies ban

Back in March 2020, Google announced that third-arty cookies are discontinued, as far as its ad networks and Chrome browser are concerned, as per VOX. 

The announcement represented a massive change for the ad business and it is a step forward for privacy, but it is also a limited one.

The change does not mean that Google will no longer collect user data, and it does not mean that the company will stop using the data it gathers to target ads.

What Google stopped doing is selling web ads targeted to the users' browsing habits, and its Chrome browser will no longer allow cookies that collect that data. Ad companies that rely heavily on cookies will have to find another way to target users.

Meanwhile, Google will still track and target individual users on mobile devices, and it will still provide targeted ads based on their online behavior on Google platforms, which make up the majority of its revenue and it won't be affected by the change.

While the announcement itself had a massive implication for the digital ad industry, it will not affect Google at all.

Related Article: DuckDuckGo Search Engine: A Google Alternative that Does Not Track

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Written by Sieeka Khan

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