The Release Of 'Privacy Sandbox' Is Google Chrome's Goodbye To Tracking Cookies

Privacy Sandbox

Google is the giant of the web, a company that lives by tracking people wherever they are on the web and mobile through its various products and services.

In order to embrace a cookie-less future, the company had to kill FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) to stop tracking users the traditional way.

Google cleverly attempts to preserve its users privacy, but without sacrificing its business.

And this is where Privacy Sandbox play its role.

Read: Google Introduces 'Privacy Sandbox', A Privacy-Focused Tracker For Android And Chrome

Privacy Sandbox, which was originally introduced back in 2022, is a multi-year initiative to introduce more private advertising solutions to end-users.

It is Google's umbrella term for a set of technologies that aim to eliminate third-party tracking cookies on the web and replace them with privacy-preserving alternatives, while still serving tailored content and ads.

At the center of Privacy Sandbox, is Topics API, which sorts users into different topics (that can change over time) based on the websites they visited and the frequency they visited those websites.

Each of the websites users visited can query to infer what topics a specific user is interested in and serve personalized ads without knowing who they are.

The approach that makes it different that traditional tracker is that, Privacy Sandbox tracks users by interest groups rather than individually.

In other words, Privacy Sandbox acts as an intermediary between the user and the website.

And because everything is controlled within it, users can further control their experience by customizing the ad topics they're interested in, the relevance and measurement APIs they want enabled, or entirely opt out of these features.

And this time, Google has officially begun its rollout of Privacy Sandbox in the Chrome web browser to a majority of its users.

After few months being introduced, Privacy Sandbox for the web finally reaches general availability.

According to Anthony Chavez, vice president of Privacy Sandbox initiatives at Google, in an announcement:

"We believe it is vital to both improve privacy and preserve access to information, whether it's news, a how-to-guide, or a fun video."

"Without viable privacy-preserving alternatives to third-party cookies, such as the Privacy Sandbox, we risk reducing access to information for all users, and incentivizing invasive tactics such as fingerprinting."

While this Privacy Sandbox is meant to serve a better purpose, it does have its own share of criticism.

Many people worry that with Privacy Sandbox, Google only switched third-party tracking, with its own, meaning that it leverages first-party tracking to become the sole gatekeeper of people's internet activity between users and they websites they visit.

"Google gathers reams of personal data on each and every one of its users, sourced through an opt-in process that it's hard for most web users to avoid," said Movement For An Open Web.

In other words, Privacy Sandbox and tracking cookies are the same, because they're both trackers, despite operating differently.