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Google Says It Won’t Build Alternative Identifiers To Track Users Across The Web

Google announced last week that while other companies are planning to replace third-party cookies with alternative user-level identifiers, Google will not. Google said “we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.”

Google wrote:

We realize this means other providers may offer a level of user identity for ad tracking across the web that we will not — like PII graphs based on people’s email addresses. We don’t believe these solutions will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment. Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers.

Don’t worry, Google has special little robots that are almost as good as predicting user behavior or what users want to see without using cookies or other identifiers. It is called FLOC, Federated Learning of Cohorts. The Electronic Frontier Foundation called FLOC a terrible idea and said there are major concerns with Google’s FLOC methodology and wrote:

We emphatically reject the future of FLoC. That is not the world we want, nor the one users deserve. Google needs to learn the correct lessons from the era of third-party tracking and design its browser to work for users, not for advertisers.

At WebmasterWorld the admin said “I can’t see the war on tracking and profiling getting easier for anyone (users, advertisers, Google and other ad companies) in the short to medium term.” Very true.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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