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Are you annoyed by online advertisements, more precisely advertisements that track you, and do you want to have more privacy on the Internet? Google has long listened to the complaints of its users, and this has resulted in a “Privacy Sandbox” that contains fewer cookies that track you, more specifically, that track your online activity. This option is a win-win for everyone – it allows advertisers to conduct targeted advertising, but on the other hand, it retains the privacy of individual users.

How is this better than regular online monitoring? Why does Google strive for ‘cookie-free’ alternatives? Can you turn this option off while using Chrome? Find out the answers below.

What Are Cookies?

Who does not love cookies? We believe most of you love them. But do you like cookies within your web browser? On the one hand, they are needed for modern web browsers and surfing the Internet, and on the other hand, they can be treated as a threat to online privacy.

Perhaps the best way to describe cookies within a web browser is in the form of an example. Imagine a situation when you buy something. You add items to the cart, but due to lack of time, you shut down the website and end your Internet session. Later, when you return to the website in question, your items will still be in the cart. How is that possible? Because the website use cookies to store smaller amounts of information about you and your online activity, thus providing you with a better surfing experience. To simplify, websites store small amounts of information about you. These data sets are cookies.

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Types of Online Cookies

Typically, there are two types of cookies that ‘live’ inside your web browser: “first-party” and “third-party” cookies.

First-Party Cookies

These are cookies that are primarily used for a better web browser experience. This is where your login information is stored (so that you don’t have to log in every time you visit, say, Facebook), things you add to your cart if it is a webshop page, the language you chose on the website, and the like.

Third-Party Cookies

These are cookies that serve to ‘better’ display ads. This means that they want to deliver or show you those ads that you find interesting. For example, if you search the Internet for sneakers, you will probably start noticing more ads for brands such as Nike, Adidas, and the like. Or, if you wager at online casinos, you will see more ads for popular games of chance, many of which can be found on TopCasinoExpert.com.

These are the cookies that users want to get rid of because they feel tracked.

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Why Did Google Introduce Privacy Sandbox?

Cookies within a web browser have a purpose and many will say they are useful. Then the question is – why does Google want to get rid of them or replace them with something else? According to statements from Google, all support for cookies will be phased out by 2022. That is why it has now launched the aforementioned Privacy Sandbox option. Google has actually started implementing the FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) initiative. It is designed to give advertisers enough data to target users, but give them less user data and that in a ‘safer’ way.

Interestingly, Google is primarily an advertising company, so it is safe to say that it makes a living from advertisements and advertisers. So it tries to find an alternative. It is settled between the user and the advertiser and does not want to cut the branch on which it sits. If advertisers leave, Google loses money. If users leave, it loses money again. At any extreme, Google is the first to be struck. Hence this whole new concept. But actually, these are the main reasons why Google created the Privacy Sandbox:

  • Third-party cookies can be malicious: If used in the wrong way, third-party cookies can cause harm to the user and be a threat to user safety. Unethical practices such as “cross-scripting” and misuse of users’ personal data are some of the ways that cookies should not be used.
  • They raise awareness of online privacy: Long gone are the days when users on the Internet had privacy. Now, many years later, users have become aware of this and do not want their data to be collected without permission. That’s why laws like the GDPR came into being. They protect users and limit what advertisers can collect about them and whether they are allowed to collect data at all or not.
  • Blocking cookies by web browsers: Many modern web browsers have come together in order to block third-party cookies. The key ‘player’ in this story is Mozilla Firefox. It has many reasons why it does this, and one of them is the increase in the number of users using its web browser. If this trend continues, the disappearance of third-party cookies is inevitable. Google understood that and that is why it created an alternative that will, in theory, satisfy everyone. Globally, Google’s Privacy Sandbox is there to increase user privacy without harming advertisers.

How Does Privacy Sandbox Conduct Advertising?

In the world of programming and cyber security, the word “sandbox” means a secure and isolated environment. Within that environment, you can do practically anything you want, but you cannot harm the system in which that sandbox is located.

Google Privacy Sandbox has a similar approach and uses group-based advertising, instead of individual advertising. This means that Google classifies users into specific groups (which have certain characteristics in common), and only provides advertisers with specific group information. Then advertisers show ads to certain groups of people, but they don’t know who those people are. Only Google knows that. So, you will still see sneaker ads if you are interested in them and search for them often, but advertisers will not know to whom exactly their ads are shown. Google will show the ad to a group of people who love sneakers. This is of course just a basic example of how this should work.

How to Disable Privacy Sandbox in Chrome?

The Privacy Sandbox option is enabled by default for all Chrome users. However, this does not mean that FLoC is also included.

If you are still unsure whether you want to use the Privacy Sandbox or not, you can turn it off in the settings. The process is very simple. Open Chrome and select the menu icon (vertical dots) from the upper right corner, then select “Settings”. Select “Privacy and Security” from the left menu. Then select “Privacy Sandbox” on the center screen. Here you will see information about what we wrote today, and you have a toggle, as you wish, which you can set to “on” or “off”. Our recommendation is to turn it on.

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