Google Chrome follows in the footsteps of Safari, Firefox, and Brave to deal with cookies privacy problems and take away some of their powers. The company is trying to convince us that it cares about users’ privacy. But, to what extent will it go when its own benefit is at risk? Find out more about the feature in the article below.
Google Chrome Rolls out a Cookie Restricting Feature
Google Chrome Rolls out a Cookie Restricting Feature
Actions like remembering passwords and login information are what made cookies useful and helpful. To an extremity, cookies were useful for allowing advertisers and publishers to track your online activities. However, the act of doing so has raised a lot of privacy concerns. This is why Chrome has decided to restrict cookies’ power. Google believes that blocking and removing cookies can have unexpected consequences. For starters, websites can figure out ways to track you that sidestep cookies, which you have no control over.
What are Cookies?
Cookies are small files which are stored on a user’s computer that can track you online. Developers designed them to store an acceptable amount of data specific to a particular client and website. All of which can be later accessed by either the web server or the client computer. In simpler terms, an internet cookie is data sent to a web browser by a web server, where it gets stored. Cookies are stored by the Web browser on your system’s hard drive. You can view them to see which websites you visit are associated with your cookie files.
Primarily, cookies’ purpose is to identify users and facilitate their online experince. For example, by preparing customized Web pages or saving your site login information. While these cookies are not necessarily harmful, the other type of cookies is what online users should be worried about.
What are Malicious Cookies?
There is good and bad in everything, including internet cookies. While cookies do not compromise users’ security, malicious ones have been on the rise for quite some time now. Such cookies are unhelpful and have zero contribution to the facilitation of your online experince. These cookies track and store your online activities, which is why they are malicious or tracking cookies.
In a sense, these are the cookies you need to look out for. Not only do they track your online habits but also create a profile of your interests. Ever wondered why these cookies are bad? Once your profile is full of information about your likes and interests, it gets sold to advertising companies. These agencies stake interest in your data because they get to target you with interest-specific adverts.
About the Privacy Tool
Google’s measure against cookies has privacy effort written all over it. Keep in mind that the importance of cookies has recently declined, partly thanks to the impact of smartphones and mobile browsers on web activity. This makes us question how courageous this move this really is. As a matter of fact, back in the early stages of this project, Google was thinking of creating something of a “browser identifier.”
Its purpose was to make everything you do online visible and accessible to advertisers. Users would be able to switch it on and off whenever they want. While it does give them some control over what advertisers get to see, the whole feature lacks privacy. So, Google decided to abort the mission after deciding it was too technically complex.
Tal Oppenheimer, a Chrome product manager said: “We’re changing how cookies work in Chrome, making them more private and secure by default. We’re committed to preserving the overall health of the web ecosystem.”
In a blog post about Chrome’s coming cookie policies, Ben Galbraith, director of Chrome product management and Justin Schuh, director of Chrome engineering said: “This change will enable users to clear all such cookies while leaving single domain cookies unaffected, preserving user logins and settings. It will also enable browsers to provide clear information about which sites are setting these cookies, so users can make informed choices about how their data is used.”
Chrome Restricts Browser Fingerprinting
Changing the way cookies work and what they get to do is probably a good step. However, it’s not clear how it’ll affect the web’s ecosystem on a large scale. The company’s approach is less and strict aggressive in comparison to other browsers. The method Chrome is going to use has the potential to be more significant. The reason why that is because Chrome today accounts for about 63% of web usage.
Both Schuh and Galbraith said that banning cookies can backfire: “Blunt approaches to cookie blocking have been tried, and in response we have seen some user-tracking efforts move underground, employing harder-to-detect methods that subvert cookie controls.” This explains why Google is trying to curtail browser fingerprinting. It’s where websites run scripts to gauge a browser’s configuration and abilities. With some tests, third parties can identify and track people. Other browsers are already using Anti-fingerprinting technology.
More about the Feature
The tool’s future doesn’t seem too promising. It appears that it will not go as far as Safari and Firefox browsers. These browsers have introduced updates that limited most tracking cookies in 2017 and 2018. Perhaps it’s too early to judge, we’ll just have to wait and see. We’ll be waiting for Google’s announces for the conclusive details.
According to Oppenheimer, although developers can test out the new feature today, a broader aspect of it will ship later this year. A big step towards privacy like that might cause trouble with websites and advertisers that count on such cookies. We have to accept the fact that no matter how far Google pushes through this action, it will never entirely get rid of cookies. Google serves as a giant tool for online advertising.
It can’t afford to terminate cookies completely as it helps it make profits. Nowadays, Many antivirus programs today will point out suspicious spyware or adware cookies when scanning your system for viruses. But, how effective are these programs in the face of giant tech resourceful companies? We’re never going to get online privacy, and that’s unfortunately how the cookie crumbles.