Google is killing FLoC

Google is killing FLoC and replacing it with Topics... and that's a good thing?

Google is killing FLoC

After a short life of about a year, looks like Google has done what Google usually does and has decided to kill off FLoC:

We started the Privacy Sandbox initiative to improve web privacy for users, while also giving publishers, creators and other developers the tools they need to build thriving businesses, ensuring a safe and healthy web for all. We also know that advertising is critical for many businesses, and is a key way to support access to free content online.
Today, we’re announcing Topics, a new Privacy Sandbox proposal for interest-based advertising. Topics was informed by our learning and widespread community feedback from our earlier FLoC trials, and replaces our FLoC proposal.

FLoC was was never really well received, to say the least. The problem with FLoC is that it really wasn't any different than third party cookies - it is just slightly less personal. Instead of tracking directly, you get placed into groups... which is fine, but it's still a way for Google and the greater industry to see exactly what you've been up to the past week.

Topics, which is the proposal to replace FLoC, looks interesting on the surface.

The browser will infer a handful of recognizable, interest-based categories based on recent browsing history to help sites serve relevant ads. With Topics, the specific sites you’ve visited are no longer shared across the web, like they might have been with third-party cookies.

All topics are stored on your device with no external servers involved. They stay around for 3 weeks, and each time you visit a page only 3 topics are shared with the site. The list of topics is human curated and won't contain sensitive categories like race or gender.

Again, seems interesting, but I'll wait to see how it plays out.

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