Google has abandoned FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts), its earlier idea to replace tracking third-party cookies on Chrome, and has rather announced Topics, a new Privacy Sandbox proposal for interest-based advertising.
Google had started the Privacy Sandbox initiative to improve web privacy for users.
“Topics was informed by our learning and widespread community feedback from our earlier FLoC trials, and replaces our FLoC proposal,” said Vinay Goel, Product Director, Privacy Sandbox, Chrome.
Topics works by highlighting five of your interests, such as “Fitness” or “Travel & Transportation,” that represent your top interests for that week based on your browsing history.
Topics are kept for only three weeks and old topics are deleted.
“Topics are selected entirely on your device without involving any external servers, including Google servers. When you visit a participating site, Topics picks just three topics, one topic from each of the past three weeks, to share with the site and its advertising partners,” Goel said in a blog post late on Tuesday.
Topics will also enable browsers to give users “meaningful transparency and control over this data.”
“In Chrome, we’re building user controls that let you see the topics, remove any you don’t like or disable the feature completely,” said Google.
Soon, Google will launch a developer trial of Topics in Chrome that includes user controls, and enables website developers and the ads industry to try it out.
The final design of the user controls and the other various technical aspects of how Topics works will be decided based on your feedback and what we learn in the trial, said Google.
The company has a deadline to replace third-party cookies in Chrome by 2023.