Google’s third-party cookies pullout is almost upon us

By Mark Challinor


London, United Kingdom


Phase one of Google’s drawn out plan to stop third-party cookies in their Chrome browser is nearly upon us. 

After Chrome 115’s general release in July, Google says it will slowly begin enabling its Privacy Sandbox toolkit (made for Chrome developers geared to replace third-party cookies with privacy API alternatives). 

There are still a number of hurdles to go until Google completes the Privacy Sandbox rollout, but the above API situation is a major marker in the sand (box?) towards the goal of phasing out third-party cookies.

Google is still planning to enable opt-in test modes that give advertisers a trial phase with the Sandbox (without cookies) by later this year and then actually turn off third-party cookies for an initial 1% of Chrome users sometime during the first quarter of 2024. Google aims to turn off third-party cookies totally by quarter three next year.

The slow roll of Google ending its third-party cookies in its Chrome browser begins in early 2024.
The slow roll of Google ending its third-party cookies in its Chrome browser begins in early 2024.

Google initially said it would phase out third-party cookies later this year, however they say various “onboarding” matters as well as particular “regulatory investigations” have delayed the overall deadlines somewhat.

I believe the latest news on the impact of all this is this: It is still being hotly debated. Some industry experts believe it will have a major impact on the digital advertising industry, while others believe it will be less significant. 

Those who believe the impact will be major argue third-party cookies are a critical tool for advertisers to track users across the Web and serve them targeted ads. Without third-party cookies, advertisers will have to find other ways to track users, which could be less effective and more expensive. This could lead to a decrease in the amount of money advertisers spend on digital advertising, which could have a ripple effect on the entire industry.

Those who believe the impact will be less significant argue there are other ways to track users, such as first-party cookies and digital fingerprinting. First-party cookies are, of course, the cookies set by the Website a user is visiting.

Digital fingerprinting, however, is a technique that uses a combination of different data points — such as a user’s IP address, a browser “fingerprint,” and other device information — to create a unique identifier for that user.

It is still too early to say what the long-term impact of Google’s elimination of third-party cookies will be. However, it’s clear it will have a significant impact on the digital ad industry, and we as media companies need to have our eyes and ears open.

For sure, advertisers will need to find new ways to track users and serve them targeted ads. This could lead to changes in the way digital advertising is constructed, and it could also have an impact on the way users interact with the Web. Hence the need for us in media ad sales to develop and exploit a robust first-party data strategy which can aid the advertiser with unique insights and secure us a bigger slice of the overall revenue pie. 

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About Mark Challinor

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