Google Announces New Timeline for Privacy Sandbox

Posted on July 23, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Google Chrome, Google with 11 Comments

This evening, Google announced a new and more detailed timeline for implementing its Privacy Sandbox, which includes FLoC and Fledge.

“The Privacy Sandbox proposals are in various stages of development,” the Privacy Sandbox website notes. “This timeline reflects when we expect new technologies will be ready to support key use cases, so that Chrome can responsibly phase out third-party cookies. Information may change and will be updated monthly.”

As of today,

FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) and Fledge (First Locally-Executed Decision over Groups Experiment) will now be ready for adoption by Q3 2022, Google says, and the firm has established a two-stage transition period for implementation that starts in Q4 2022. And the second stage of the transition period will begin in Q3 2023.

Google announced that it would switch to the Privacy Sandbox and end support for the third-party cookies that are typically used today to track users in August 2019, and it started getting serious about the implementation in March 2020. But this decision has met with a lot of pushback. Brave, DuckDuckGo, Vivaldi, and others have all pledged to block FLoC, though Microsoft, curiously has not. In June, it revealed that it would delay its release from 2022 to 2023. Today’s announcement provides a more concrete timeline.

That said, the timeline could still change. As Google notes, it will be updated monthly as needed going forward, and as feedback comes in, it could adjust the timing again.

You can learn more at the Privacy Sandbox website.

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Comments (11)

11 responses to “Google Announces New Timeline for Privacy Sandbox”

  1. LocalPCGuy

    Chromium Edge might be the way to go if it turns out that Google's definition of privacy turns out to actually make your data more accessible to Google and its third party partners. Edge is functionally equal to Chrome these days. Since it imports all Chrome bookmarks and passwords flawlessly, in my experience, there is no reason to stick with Chrome. Any company that drops a great slogan like "don't be evil" to start acting in a way that only benefits them can't be trusted at all.

    • red.radar

      Yet Microsoft still hasn't made a statement on the new Privacy sandbox. So its a a wait and see for me

  2. mikegalos

    Since their announcement still includes them saying they'll update the actual dates monthly it's hardly a more concrete timeline, just a more granular statement of a set of dates they're not committing to.

    Of course seeing that virtually all their profit comes from tracking users and the rest of their business model consists of selling products below cost in exchange for getting more tracking data it's hardly surprising that it's taking them nearly half a decade to implement changes in how that tracking can still be done while appearing to work for "privacy".

  3. nicholas_kathrein

    This is what happens when your worried about regulators from around the world coming down on you for making something more private since it takes it away from third parties but not you "Google". This is why Google never made a total clone of Apple Messages for all Android phones and instead tried messaging service after service because force install it on every phone through every vendor would have put them in big trouble with regulators. I'm all for regulation but it comes at a cost in some instances.

    • ivarh

      You mean like gmail and google maps and the other apps google demans to be installed to be allowed to licence google play services? The only reason google does not have a message service is that they have made one and changed their mind and made a different one so many times that no one takes them seriosly when it comes to messaging apps.

  4. red.radar

    I get nervous about Friday Night press releases. The risk of receiving bad news just seems higher

    • mikegalos

      Good new you always announce on a Tuesday morning and bad news on Friday evening. That goes back to Tom Watson at IBM.

      There's a reason Friday is called "Take out the trash day" and there's a "Friday Night News Dump".

  5. ringofvoid

    Google's in a pickle. The tracking features that they (and other advertisers) want to use for ad personalization are diametrically opposed to what consumers want. They lucked out the first time with cookies being useful for both their intended purpose and for advertisers' nefarious user tracking. Any feature they design to replace cookies for advertisers is going to be a no-go with users and, likely, regulators.

  6. longhorn

    Brave writes:

    "For the Web to be trusted and to flourish, we hold that much more is needed than the complex yet conservative chair-shuffling embodied by FLoC and Privacy Sandbox. Deeper changes to how creators pay their bills via ads are not only possible, but necessary. We invite Google to join us in fixing the fundamentals, undoing the harm that ad-tech has caused, and building a Web that serves users first."

    Google writes:

    "In recent years, some browsers have taken steps to protect privacy by blocking or removing third-party cookies. However, without effective alternatives in place, this can negatively impact critical web functionality, such as advertising and fraud prevention. To ensure publishers and developers can provide content funded by advertising in a privacy-preserving way, the web requires major technological innovations."

    When Google writes critical web functionality, such as advertising it isn't from the perspective of a site owner, but from the perspective of Google; the spider in the ad network. This is all about keeping Google in control, not creating a decentralized ad system. Google omits the fact that you don't need to track users through FLoC to show relevant ads on your site.

    • nicholas_kathrein

      Why would Google create a decentralized ad system? That's like Apple creating iMessage for Android. We have to be realistic. Google doesn't need to do any of this. Just keep all this to themselves and charge even more for it to these 3rd parties. The system we are talking about here from my understanding is helping the 3rd parties get information that if this was only 1st party information they wouldn't have. Apple just want's to cut out all 3rd parties while they still have access to lot of this information.