Don't leave him major redesign of Chrome to distract you from the fact that Chrome's new invasive ad platform, ridiculously named “Privacy Sandbox”, has also started rolling out.
If you haven't figured it out, this feature will track the websites you visit and create a list of advertising topics that will be shared with websites whenever they request it. The new feature is built right into the program tours Chrome.
Of course Google knows the new feature won't be popular. Contrary to the company's glowing front-page publication for the Chrome redesign, the announcement of the launch of the new ad platform is hidden on the page privacysandbox.com.
The post says the ad platform is in "general availability" as of today, meaning it's rolled out to most Chrome users.
Users should see a pop-up window when starting Chrome informing them very soon that the “ad privacy” feature has been released and enabled. The new pop-up will be displayed to users throughout the week.
As you can see in the pop-up, Google is calling the browser-based advertising platform "an important step on the way to a fundamentally more private web."
It all started with the announcement of "FloC", Google's tracking plan for ads through Chrome.
The argument is that someday (not now, but someday) Google will disable third-party tracking cookies in Chrome, and the new ad platform, which has some limitations, is better than third-party cookies. The point is that third-party cookies mainly only affect Chrome users. Apple and Firefox have blocked third-party cookies for years and won't implement Google's new advertising system—only Chromium browsers still allow them.
But what started this whole process was Apple dealing a huge blow to Google's core revenue stream when it blocked third-party cookies in Safari in 2020.
Chrome has some controls for this feature. Open Chrome Settings, then “Privacy & Security” then “Ad Privacy” (alternatively, copy and paste the internal URL into your browser “chrome://settings/adPrivacy"). From there, you can click on each of the three individual pages and disable the top checkbox, and in just six clicks, you can potentially disable the ad platform. If you leave it on for a while, you can look at the "Ad topics" page, where Google will show you what ads you'd like to see in Chrome. This list is sent to advertisers when you visit a page.
Google says it will block third-party cookies in the second half of 2024—presumably after it's satisfied that the “Privacy Sandbox” will allow it to maintain its profits. Want a user tracking and advertising platform right in your browser?
If yes then continue with Chrome or any Chromium type. Everyone else should seriously consider using Firefox.