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Google Overhauls EU Cookie Replacement Plan

 |  January 25, 2022

Google is overhauling its plans for targeted online advertising after pushback from privacy advocates, aiming to give marketers less-granular information about web users than under the tech giant’s initial proposal, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The Alphabet unit said Tuesday that the new system it is proposing, Topics, would allow web advertisers to target broad categories of users—those interested in “fitness” or “travel,” for example—instead of grouping them into thousands of cohorts with similar browsing histories.

The company’s Chrome browser will distill a shortlist of interests based on a user’s recent browsing history, the company said. Users will be able to see and delete interests the browser assigns to them, or turn the system off entirely.

The proposal is an outgrowth of Google’s plan to phase out a user-tracking technology called third-party cookies in 2023. Millions of marketers currently rely on third-party cookies, unique snippets of code to identify individual browsers, to target online advertisements based on users’ specific browsing histories. The practice has led to complaints from activists and privacy regulators in Europe and the US.

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