Google introduces a new system for tracking Chrome browser users.2022-01-25 19:37 by Daniela
Tags: Chrome, browser
Google has announced it won't be replacing cookies with FLoC, the web browser tracking protocol it created to help deliver users personalized ad content - and had been maligned by privacy advocates - after all. Instead, the company will attempt to fulfill the same mission without as much intrusion with a new API dubbed Topics.
The new system addresses how many websites and ad networks use a variety of cookies and computer scripts to track your browsing history in an effort to serve you targeted ads. The ad-based surveillance is why other browsers such as Apple's Safari and Mozilla's Firefox have gone out of their way to block third-party cookies by default to protect users' privacy.
The Topics interface uses software built into Google's Chrome browser to monitor your browsing behavior and assemble a list of five subjects it thinks you've shown interest in over the course of a week.
Topics include fitness, travel, and news, with about 350 available initially. Topics are kept for three weeks before being automatically deleted, and Chrome will let users see and remove their topics at will – or disable the feature entirely. Google says topics are "thoughtfully curated" by humans and "will not include potentially sensitive categories, such as gender or race."
All of this activity is supposed to happen right on the browser on your phone, laptop, tablet or desktop, Google says - nothing will be happening on Google's servers. Because everything is held in the local browser, you should be able to edit and even remove individual Topics that are currently assigned to you, or opt out of the system altogether. Google hadn't decided yet whether Topics will be opt-in or opt-out for end users.
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