So, it seems the end of cookies as we know them is not going to come around as quickly as originally thought. 

The company has announced that it will phase out third-party cookies over a three-month period which will end in late 2023. This is planned to take place after rigorous testing of cookieless advertising methods has been conducted

Support for third-party cookies within the Chrome browser will start to finish in late 2022, and will most likely take place over nine months.

The current trial of FLoC – the rather controversial Privacy Sandbox proposal – will end on July 13. FLoC is being investigated by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), to see what impact Google’s Privacy Sandbox will have on the competition.

The fact that the advertising industry has been subject to a lot of stress and confusion surrounding the deprecation of third-party cookies, for Google to now extend the deadline, is surprising. However, it does seem that the decision is coming from pressure from the government.

There are multiple lawsuits and investigations taking place, addressing Google’s Privacy Sandbox. On June 11, the CMA said it will be evaluating commitments from Google to adjust its Privacy Sandbox approach, which has been subject to intense criticism from ad tech firms who say it is not as collaborative as it should be and could solidify an more power for Google over ad tech firms, digital ad buyers and ad sellers. 

What happens next?

If Google formally accepts its commitments, the CMA will terminate the Privacy Sandbox investigation. Amongst these commitments, the company said it would not give preference to its  services in development or implementation of Privacy Sandbox methods or use “sensitive information provided by an ad tech provider or publisher to Chrome in a way that distorts competition.”

Fred Whitton, Digital Partner at Total Media summed it up, saying: “Google’s delay to cookie deprecation is mixed news for marketers and the industry. On the one hand it gives a reprieve to cookie-confused marketers and data solutions providers (adtech stock has already jumped), on the other it delays meaningful re-architecture of the open web to a more privacy-centred model, with the challenges to the FLoC approach in particular and an end to testing its current form in July.

“The link to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigations is notable, as is the need to ensure a level playing field in data control and ad supply. Overall this is another delay to the next chapter for digital media and it shouldn’t change brands need to continue to invest in building deeper relationships with their consumers.”