New Privacy Sandbox timeline details when Google plans to phase out third-party cookies
In March this year, Google began testing a new piece of web technology called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) as part of its new Privacy Sandbox initiative. Google proposed FLoC as a replacement for third-party cookies and touted it as a win for privacy. However, privacy advocates and third-party browsers have strongly advocated against FLoC, calling it “a step in the wrong direction.” Now, Google has released an updated timeline detailing when it plans to roll out various new web technologies, including FLoC, as part of the Privacy Sandbox initiative.
When Google announced its plan to kill cross-site cookies in 2020, it said the phase-out would happen within two years. However, as per the new timeline, that has been pushed over to 2023 (via 9to5Google). Now Google says it’s aiming to phase out third-party cookies “over a three-month period, starting in mid-2023 and ending in late 2023.”
Google’s Privacy Sandbox timeline consists of the following four components:
Fight Spam And Fraud On The Web — [Testing phase]
- Trust Tokens API (OT started)
Show Relevant Content And Ads — [Discussion phase]
Measure Digital Ads — [Discussion phase]
- Core Attribution API — (OT started)
- Attribution Reporting API with aggregate reports
- Cross-Environment Attribution API
- Aggregation Service Reference
Strengthen Cross-Site Privacy Boundaries — [Discussion phase]
- First-Party Sets API — (OT started)
- Shared Storage API
- CHIPS API
- Storage Partitioning
- Fenced Frames API
- Network State Partitioning
All proposals will go through five stages: Discussion, Testing, Ready for adoption, Transition period: Stage 1, and Transition period: Stage 2. APIs that are publically being tested in Chrome are marked as “origin trials” (OT) and can be tracked on Chrome’s origin trial registration page. Most of the proposals mentioned above are currently under the Discussion phase — only the Trust Tokens API has reached the Testing phase.
Google says the transition period won’t start until all the above APIs are ready for scaled adoption. The current timeline shows all APIs should be “Ready for adoption” by Q4 2022. However, Google says these are not concrete dates and might change based on how testing goes and feedback received from the stakeholders.