Chrome is about to stop accepting third-party cookies, so does that mean Google will lose out on a huge chunk of its ad revenue? Of course not.
Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) is a new tracking method Google is developing. It will place users into groups based on their browsing history, and advertisers will be able to target those groups. In order to ensure user privacy, Google calls the new solution ‘privacy first’, since it does not create user profiles.
The changes that have taken place and what they mean for privacy are explained here…
Unless you opt out of cookies on the websites you visit, if you use Chrome right now, many of those websites will place cookies (small pieces of code) on the device you are using. Using these cookies, sites can figure out more about you: the pages you visit, the time you spend on each, your interests, demographics, where you live, etc. They can also figure out who you are based on your browsing history. Afterwards, advertisers can purchase your profile, then use it to target you with hyper-relevant ads across the web.
Chrome’s third-party tracking cookies are scheduled to be phased out by 2022, Google announced last year. “We will stop building alternative identifiers to track individuals as they browse the web, once third-party cookies are phased out.”. The company also announced it would no longer use third-party cookies in its products once third-party cookies are phased out. Firefox and Safari have already dropped the support for tracking cookies. Only Google Chrome is left to phase them out.
There are new ways for Google to track you but not via cookies. Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) is the name given to this new AI-based system.
Google is no doubt the top search provider for website owners. The indexing process, along with the various SEO measures taken by site owners, allows Google to gather a lot of information about websites with respect to their content and purpose.
A super-tracker, FLoC records your browsing data across all websites and saves it to your Chrome browser. You are given an “identity cohort” that is generated by the browser using machine learning (ML). Based on SimHash’s algorithm, users are put into groups (cohorts) based on their similar interests, by analyzing their interests.
Google’s existing bid-based ad technology will be used by advertisers to purchase these cohorts. In other words, you’ll receive ads tailored to your cohort(s) instead of ads tailored to your profile.
So, what’s really changed???
FLoC however will give your first contact site an idea of your kind of character. Nevertheless, FLoC gives a site the opportunity to assess you right from the start. Consider clicking on an advertisement for a job site, for instance. Upon clicking a job application link, a new page opens up. With cohort IDs, you can now identify yourself by name. What kind of information would you like potential employers to know about your true interests? The right to privacy includes freely presenting or concealing different aspects of your identity according to different situations.