Cookies allow websites to log your activity, and third-party cookies give that permission to sites other than the ones you’re on. Getting rid of them will help internet users better protect their privacy, Schuh said.
“Users are demanding greater privacy — including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used — and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands,” he added.
Schuh criticized the approach some of Chrome’s competitors have deployed.
“Some browsers have reacted to these concerns by blocking third-party cookies, but we believe this has unintended consequences that can negatively impact both users and the web ecosystem,” he said, adding that it could promote more “opaque” and “invasive” tracking techniques.
“Blocking cookies without another way to deliver relevant ads significantly reduces publishers’ primary means of funding, which jeopardizes the future of the vibrant web,” Schuch wrote at the time.
Schuh now says Google is confident it can “sustain a healthy, ad-supported web in a way that will render third-party cookies obsolete.”
“The other browser vendors seem motivated to actually limit third-party tracking given increasing consumer frustration. So many ads these days are retargeted based on visits to other sites, so people are increasingly aware that their browsing is tracked all over the web (and elsewhere),” said Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy and technology policy at Consumer Reports.
And there are fears that Google could use its size and dominance to keep collecting data even without cookies and stifle competition in the process.
A Google spokesperson told CNN Business that Chrome calls on the entire ecosystem to engage with its proposals, reiterating that it will only phase out third-party cookies once the needs of users, advertisers and publishers are met. Google also relies on third-party cookies for ads it serves on other sites, which would be affected if Chrome were to stop supporting them, the spokesperson added.
While Google hasn’t yet specified what it plans to replace cookies with, the amount of user data it collects anyway means it might not matter.
“Google and other leading data marketing companies no longer require consuming vast number of personal data ‘cookies’ to track and target us,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a tech privacy research and advocacy group. “They have invested in technologies that enable them to gather information on people and then make accurate predictions about how they will respond.