Yes, Vivaldi Will Disable FLoC Too

Posted on April 14, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Web browsers with 16 Comments

Not to be outdone by DuckDuckGo and Brave, alternative browser maker Vivaldi has announced that it, too, will block Google FLoC user tracking.

“Google’s new data harvesting venture is nasty,” Vivaldi founder and CEO Jon von Tetzchner writes. “Called FLoC (The Federated Learning of Cohorts), this new advertising technology intends to replace third-party cookies and related technologies like third-party localStorage. This clearly is a dangerous step that harms user privacy.”

Vivaldi notes that while it, like Brave, uses Google’s Chromium as the underpinnings of its own browser, it is free to do its own thing when it comes to FLoC. And Vivaldi, unlike Google, stands up for the privacy rights of its users and does not approve of tracking and profiling, “in any disguise.” As a result, Vivaldi will also block Google’s FLoC.

“Our privacy policy is simple and clear; we do not want to track you,” Mr. Tetzchner explains. “The FLoC experiment does not work in Vivaldi. It relies on some hidden settings that are not enabled in Vivaldi … we modify the Chromium engine in many ways to keep the good parts but to make it safe for users; we do not allow Vivaldi to make that sort of call to Google.”

Vivaldi pledges to disable FLoC, no matter how it is implemented going forward. And this line pretty much sums it all up:

“[FLoC] does not protect privacy and it certainly is not beneficial to users, to unwittingly give away their privacy for the financial gain of Google,” Tetzchner says. Exactly.

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Comments (19)

19 responses to “Yes, Vivaldi Will Disable FLoC Too”

  1. MikeCerm

    It seems pretty obvious to me: there's no chance that any non-Google browser is going to support tech that makes it easier for Google to track users, even in a less granular way than Google used to track. Vivaldi doesn't run a massive ad network, so there's no benefit to them. All this tracking is dumb anyway. Advertisers for decades had no problem putting ads on TV, where all that is known to the advertiser is what program their ads would run during. Ads for cleaning products in home improvement shows on HGTV. Ads for erectile dysfunction on Fox News. Sure, web technology made it possible to track people around the web, but modern browsers are making it easier to circumvent that tracking. It's an arms race. FLoC is supposed to be Google's way of calling a truce, but everyone else is just like, "nah, let's just go back to no tracking at all."

    • Saarek

      In reply to MikeCerm:

      Could you imagine the justified public outrage, laws & lawsuits that would have followed had one of those traditional advert mediums been able to snoop on people?

      It’s almost unfathomable that they’ve been permitted to get away with this and continue to get away with this.

      Until the public are fully informed of this insidious practice nothing will change.

      Apple has started to lead the charge, others are now correctly picking up the mantle.

  2. divodd

    So sad to see the ever expanding spread of privacy extremism.

    No one has ever made a coherent case on why ads targeted to your interests are bad save for a Luddite insistence that it's "creepy"

  3. bill_russell

    So why do we "trust" this Vivaldi, Brave and others with no known business model? In my mind, a well funded company is going to be far more concerned with doing more good then if they are struggling to survive and partnering with taboola and outbrain crap.

    Google has proven to be a good citizen of the internet, being the majority gateway to it, and I have yet to suffer any ill-effects from years of being warned of this so called "snooping". Love how everyone bashes Google who effectively wrote and maintains everyone's browser for them, except Firefox (although Google also keeps it alive with the default search engine deal). Such browsers just wrap their own self serving "chrome" features and probably don't give anything back to chromium.

  4. red.radar

    How long before these third party chromium projects diversify and start playing with a new browser engine.

    I worry that google architects chromium in a manner to make these tracking techniques hard to remove without loosing some critical functionality

  5. jbinaz

    So how do companies like Brave, Vivaldi, Duck Duck Go make money?

  6. beckoningeagle

    The ball is in Microsoft's court now. They need to step up to the plate. These are as many sport analogies as I can come up with.

  7. anoldamigauser

    I wonder how long it will be until Microsoft announces the same for Edge.

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