Google wants to make third-party cookies obsolete

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 15, 2020
Updated • Jul 28, 2022
Google Chrome

Google Chrome is the most popular web browser on the Internet even if you don't look at all the other browser's that use Chromium as their sources. Chrome gives Google telemetry data but also power to push technologies that it favors over others that it does not.

The company revealed plans to phase out third-party cookies recently on the official Chromium blog to increase "the privacy of web browsing". Google wants to address the need of "users, publishers and advertisers" before it starts to phase out support for third-party cookies in the Chrome web browser "within two years".

Some web browsers started to block third-party cookies outright or implemented anti-tracking mechanisms to improve user privacy. Google states that it looked at those solutions and decided against implementing any of these because of "unintended consequences that can negatively impact both users and the web ecosystem".

Tip: Chrome users may disable cookies on chrome://settings/content/cookies by setting "block third-party cookies" on the page to on.

One side-effect of blocking cookies outright is that other methods of tracking, fingerprinting in particular, became more widely used.

The company plans to launch privacy improvements in Chrome in February and anti-fingerprinting protections later in 2020. The improvements that will land in Chrome in February 2020 will limit insecure cross-site tracking.

Closing Words

Google is an advertising company first and foremost as the bulk of the company's revenue comes from its advertisement branches. It is clear that there is a strong desire for privacy on the Internet and Google, though in a comfortable position in regards to Chrome currently, cannot just sit back and watch how other browsers torpedo the company's revenue streams.

Sitting back would work for a while but it is likely that users would start to use other browsers, Chromium-based or not, more as time passes by thanks to better privacy protections and options.

If Google does not react now, it may not have the might that it has now thanks to Chrome to push certain changes.

Phasing out third-party cookies use on the Internet is one thing but whether that is really beneficial to users, advertisers and sites depends on potential replacements. It is possible that Google's replacement will mostly be beneficial to the company itself and less or even disadvantageous to others.

Now You: What is your take on this?

Article Name
Google wants to make third-party cookies obsolete
Google revealed plans to phase out third-party cookies recently on the official Chromium blog to increase "the privacy of web browsing".
Ghacks Technology News

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  1. Anonymoose said on March 5, 2021 at 1:09 am

    Hold on, let me get this straight – GOOGLE is talking about creating a privacy-first web? Now I know hell truly has frozen over, and the Devil himself walks among us, laughing uproariously at people’s idiocy and gullibility.

  2. Sanjeev Kumar said on March 10, 2020 at 8:07 am

    Blocking of the third party cookies, It will be illegal also because multiple government websites are using accessibility tool on the websites for disabled and regional people. That is based on third party cookies.

    It will be violation of Human Rights, language rights, equal rights, diversity, inclusion, ada, etc.

    1. Anonymoose said on March 5, 2021 at 1:42 am

      So blocking third party cookies is illegal and a violation of Human Rights, language rights, equal rights, diversity, inclusion, ada, etc.? Stop typing rubbish and spreading outright lies.

  3. The_Punisher said on January 16, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    A little ironic to come out in defense of 3rd party cookies which are obv as bad as ads, but Google could’ve done this 10 years ago, except they didn’t because it wouldn’t have made them money. Internet marketing is a mature market and it’s not growing, and Google is dying so they’re trying to kill off everyone else to avoid a run on their stock

  4. NA said on January 15, 2020 at 8:57 pm

    Google has always been about good talk, and then slow, bad actions. Enough people know now, imo, but Google is still going by its script as if everyone is stupid.

  5. Vrai said on January 15, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    At this point in time – no one is forced to use Chrome. We still have choices.
    No one is forced to use Google or Google products.
    Everyone makes their own choices.

    As far as “free content” on the internet is concerned – perhaps you get what you pay for.

    1. The_Punisher said on January 16, 2020 at 9:43 pm

      I’d add:
      If anyone reading this is using Chrome or an unrooted Android, think about what kind of practices you’re enabling here.

  6. Ron said on January 15, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    >> Phasing out third-party cookies use on the Internet is one thing but whether that is really beneficial to users, advertisers and sites depends on potential replacements. It is possible that Google’s replacement will mostly be beneficial to the company itself and less or even disadvantageous to others. <<

    This says it all. I don't trust Google one bit. I'm sure they already had something cooked up before making this decision.

  7. MartinFan said on January 15, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    Probably another cover up pretending to care for its users when its real goal is to undermine competitors ads.

    If it wasn’t for no-script and ublock origin and Firefox I think I would seriously give up web browsing. With the exception of a few sites that are not so bloated.

    Martin I would like to thank you for allowing me to use your website without having to enable javascript, I wish more sites would be like yours.

  8. John G. said on January 15, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Best improvement of this year. Third party cookies are useless junk and privacy molesters anyway.

  9. C. Howe Anonymous said on January 15, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Although I would never use Chrome, cookies from Google, along with Facebook, of course, are the main things I block by default in my browsers.

  10. Herman Cost said on January 15, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    I can’t imagine why anyone would use Chrome when there are numerous alternatives that are significantly better from a privacy perspective. My primary browser is Firefox with Vivaldi and Pale Moon as backups. I deleted Chrome from my system long ago and have not missed it at all.

    1. Rex said on January 16, 2020 at 1:48 am

      Except for Firefox and Pale Moon (and Basilisk, by extension), all the others are forked from Chromium so they don’t count. They will be subject to whatever restrictions Google imposes in future, starting with their manifest v3 that limits adblocking extensions.

      There are exactly 3 browser engines today – the vast majority are forked from Blink (what Chrome/ium uses). The others are Firefox’s Gecko and its fork Goanna that Pale Moon, Basilisk and the default browsers on the Hyperbola Linux distro(IceApe/IceDove) use.

  11. BM said on January 15, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    I think people don’t understand the bigger consequences. A vast amount of content on the internet is free. But, if these cookies are blocked en masse, forget about all that content being available!

    We can enjoy our privacy (using ad blockers – as I do) AND the free content, so long as only the minority of us are blocking ads. Sort of like how anti-vaxers benefit from the vast majority of the population having vaccinations covering multiple diseases. Too many of them opting out and all bets are off.

    Static ads, as someone suggested, are just unworkable at scale. Besides, that is a very desktop oriented view of the world – one that is increasingly dominated by mobile.

    Instead, if people value their privacy, they have plentiful options. If they choose to not worry about it (as a great many do today), then isn’t it their problem?

    1. BM said on January 17, 2020 at 4:24 am

      Rant on.

      Obviously you are passionate about vaccines (or the supposed problems they cause).

      Didn’t mean to trigger anyone here.

      My point is people have choices and tools to manage privacy already.

      Do we really need Google to take care of us?

      People say they are fine with fewer websites. I don’t have the time to point to all the websites I’d be fine if they were gone. That misses the point entirely.

      I mean, continue down that path of thinking and we are in a world where “who needs more than one type of bread, one style of TV, one model of car? I’m fine with xxxxxx!” “Who needs more than 1200 sqft to live? I’m fine with that!”

      Where was that kind of thinking actually implemented? No, of course nobody is suggesting it get taken that far. But, once you can have your limit imposed, why stop there, we all have suggestions on how restrictions can be made based on needs and personal wants. I’d rather these types of arguments get cut off at the pass.

      Vastly overstated – no – vastly under appreciated is more like it. I don’t think anyone knows how much is out there because of advertising. Easier to state it is “overstated” because no-one can easily see all that advertising dollars have provided.

      Just because you are okay with that doesn’t mean everyone is. This blog is just a small part of the big world.

      Many of us, including myself, tend to value their privacy more than most. But we do something about it, don’t we, precisely because we put a higher value on privacy.

      Again, who is “stopping the spying” – uhm… Google in this case! Are they even “stopping” it with this proposal? Do you think one of the main benefactors of “spying” is going to cut themselves out?

      Even if you think they will be so generous, do we really need Google to protect us?

      Especially when we have the choice and the means to protect ourselves?

      Aren’t we, who value our privacy protecting ourselves already?

      Rant off.

    2. The_Punisher said on January 16, 2020 at 9:41 pm

      Yeah I kind of agree with this. Google is trying to make themselves the only company profiting from the internet, which would be kinda like making McDonald’s the only restaurant in the world. Plenty of more people do deserve to make money from internet and it surely will fall to shit if they all give up. I’d sure like to go back to the pro bono internet of the 90s but that’s never gonna happen and especially not if it’s all controlled by one company.

    3. Paul Kent said on January 16, 2020 at 12:13 am

      Oh what a surprise, a person from fantasy land on the internet.

      “content is free” so what? why should anyone care? that’s the same scare tactic people have been using for decades for any subject, like when adblockers appeared. So “free content” is that the only reason to accept 3rd party cookies existence and stop using adblockers because “it might hurt someone”? Why? If a website stops existing because of 3rd party cookies, then it won’t be missed, there will be many websites that will offer similar content, if then some websites start charging for their content like it’s usual on news paper websites, then, I am sure people are more than stupid to pay for that. The only reason why adblockers are not used more than they should it is because mobile browsers barely support any adblocker and sometimes they are hidden on settings like on Edge mobile, and then it might activate the Acceptable Ads so people might still get some ads. But I am sure most people on desktop thanks to Firefox, Brave, and now Edge are getting less and less ads, and that’s not wrong and I hope more browsers will implement some type of protection because ads or 3rd party cookies should not exist or be forced by anyone to everyone because “it might hurt someone”

      The funniest part about your comment is your ignorant comparison of 3rd party cookies with ‘anti vaxxers’ is though, they don’t have anything to do with each other, not even the ‘example’ but what do I expect from someone on the internet whose argument is “it might hurt someone”?

      But just a quick information:

      Not everyone not vaccinating is not against vaccines, some people aren’t not forced or brainwashed to take them and just live life.
      So yes, outside your brainwashing little bubble, there are thousands of places in the world where people are not worried about vaccination because they are fine, they rarely get sick and don’t get brainwashed into thinking they need something when they don’t, why would you want to get a vaccine if you are not getting sick? that’s the most absurd way of thinking.
      Of course, even if the percentage population getting some disease in those places is minimal because not everyone take care properly of their bodies or are exposed to chemicals or anything, still governments want to force everyone to get unnecessary measures like if it was bad naturally getting sick.

      I know people who only got sick (myself included) because a 3rd party person got a vaccine, and guess what? the person got sick and almost died like thousands of people in the world, while I only got cough and it was over after couple of days.

      So outside your bubble of ignorance not everyone vaccinates, and people who don’t do it don’t have to label themselves as ‘anti vaxxers’, many people have a good immune system, eat properly and guess what? they don’t get sick and when they do, they don’t treat it like if it was a death sentence like governments wants to force people to believe.

      I know you haven’t read ANYTHING about vaccines, you don’t even know the ingredients or anything it has, you don’t know that the doctors or nurses or some new medic whatever don’t know about it either, they don’t know what they contain and how they are even made, but they push them around and try to force them on you. The same Doctors who are supposed to heal people and don’t even know about nutrition and the basic stuff to keep the body healthier than the average person in 2020, because nutrition that is the principal way to get a healthy body and mind, but no, they always want to fill anyone with pills or vaccines. why? oh yes, because pharma industry is nothing more than a business and they don’t care or expect to heal anyone.
      Have you ever read what someone like Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai has to say about vaccines? Of course not! because you live in a bubble of ignorance and then spread your ignorant thoughts in a technology forum which don’t have anything to do one subject to the other, again, I am 100% sure, not even 99%… that you don’t care to get information and just decided to believe in information that was made because of money, not to heal anyone.

      Just look at what you said “vaccines cover multiple diseases”, many people who get sick already got ‘vaccines” anyway so what did they cover? apparently nothing. It’s like the clueless people who believe tetanus vaccine is somehow necessary because they were brainwashed to believe they need one, even if they don’t work in a farm or some place where animals poo around and might then get the bacteria to an object that might stab you and then get in your system, like those idiots who get a tetanus vaccine AFTER they stepped on some rusty nail, which wouldn’t even work by then (even if it did what it says it does), but somehow they get one and they don’t get sick because Clostridium tetani is not everywhere, not in a random rusty nail where no animals are around.
      And yes, I know someone, he was a teacher I had and then cancelled class one weekend, then he told us that he got a Tetanus vaccine because he was told “it’s everywhere, even on the normal environment on the city you are living on” so he got it and he pretty much spent terrible days for an unnecessary lied they pushed on his ignorant mind.

      And just to explain you how wrong you are, where I come from, I only vaccinated as a kid because it is mandatory to get vaccines to go to the mandatory public brainwashing useless school system (which today I wish I didn’t go anyway) after primary school I never got any vaccine again.
      I never read about vaccines, never cared about their ingredients, never cared if people were getting sick because of that, I just didn’t care about it and found it unnecessary.
      Was I an ‘anti vaxxer’ because I decided not to put them in my body? because it seemed dumb to me and unnecessary? I was NOT getting sick so what would be my reason to get one?. I didn’t know anything about “anti vaxxers” movements and still today I don’t care who vaccinates or not, as long as they don’t affect me like the 3rd party person I already mentioned.
      I mean, let’s use this logic, if an oral medicine has so many side effects and the oral medicine gets filtered by the system and that’s the reason you see many pills mentioning about liver and blabla, why would I want something injected in my system directly? something that hasn’t even really tested, it’s it like a Russian roulette… for what? for believing some people who don’t even care about you? some people who get billions each year for ‘curing’ diseases that you might not even get? I mean, I don’t get flu or even a cold, am I a special human being that doesn’t get sick more than 3 times in 1000 years? and with sick I mean, coughing couple times, some tiredness and mostly sore throat. Why would I need one? would you put some unnecessary untested liquid full of crap you don’t even know what it contains because unlike other products vaccines or people applying them don’t tell you the ingredients and all the nonsense that will go directly to your system and brain if you were on my feet? well, I don’t and I won’t. And of course I don’t take pills either, because again, it is unnecessary in my opinion.
      Of course now I have read about vaccines and ingredients and I have had conversations with some people who know more than you do, even people who promote vaccines but of course not for themselves, and guess what? I better knowing that my decision to be without them is perfectly fine and will be fine for many years. Of course I got sick once because someone got a vaccine, but again, getting sick is not bad for the body, and I can always do more for my body than drinking soda and eating doritos like I am sure you do everyday.

      1. Anonymoose said on March 5, 2021 at 1:39 am

        Paul Kent:
        Anti-vaxxer – Check
        Believes Trump’s lies – Check
        Believes Shiva Ayyadurai’s lies – Check

        Wow, ding ding ding, you’ve won the triple crown!

    4. John Fenderson said on January 15, 2020 at 4:51 pm

      @BM: “A vast amount of content on the internet is free. But, if these cookies are blocked en masse, forget about all that content being available! ”

      This argument is always trotted out, and while there is some truth to it, it is vastly overstated. Some sites would go away, some sites would become pay-only, some sites will use contextual ads instead. And some will continue, as they are now, to remain both free and without advertising.

      Personally, if stopping the spying means that there are fewer websites, I’m totally cool with that.

  12. Anonymous said on January 15, 2020 at 11:52 am

    Don’t expect a “Privacy Sandbox” created by Google to be about increasing your privacy. This “Don’t Play in Google’s Privacy Sandbox” article from the EFF explains what this is really about:

  13. Klaas Vaak said on January 15, 2020 at 11:52 am

    Using Ungoogled Chromium with a number of privacy extensions.

  14. Sol Shine said on January 15, 2020 at 11:21 am

    Quote from :
    “We are proposing the implementation of what we call a privacy budget. With a privacy budget, websites can call APIs until those calls have revealed enough information to narrow a user down to a group sufficiently large enough to maintain anonymity. After that, any further attempts to call APIs that would reveal information will cause the browser to intervene and block further calls.”

    So they want to have browser API’s to allow tracking to put you in certain groups for advertisers to target. The browser will only stop tracking you when they (the company that controls the data) have enough members for the group to claim the members are anonymous.
    Consumers have no way to control this data, and may not be able to block the browsers from collecting the data if the websites put the API calling code in their standard javascript files that their websites needs to function.

    But there is another problem:
    Consumers are a vaied bunch and do not fit in one single group.
    So as you visit many websites and use various content, you will get placed in multiple different groups.
    When advertisers send you ads based on you belonging to a certain group, then they can link your IP address (your browser pulls the ad from their server) to all the groups that you belong to and so can still creat a profile of you that show much of your personal life.
    Therefore this Privacy Sandbox idea from Google is a fake solution to the privacy problem of tracking users to sell personalized (thus more expensive) ads to advertisers.

    The real solution is to just stop tracking users and go back to the old fashion static ads that magazines used for decades. The content of the magazine determines the type of ads placed.

    I prefer a page where half the area is content and the other half are static ad images served from the website itself (thus no tracking), than the current tracking and recording of all my online activity.

  15. vhg said on January 15, 2020 at 10:50 am

    @stv you would be wrong. ubisoft’s website simply does not function if you block 3rd party cookies.
    i’m guessing because it uses a ton of stupid different domain names for various functions (login, store, club, account, support)

    it’s a legit site. except it’s crap.

    1. Klaas Vaak said on January 15, 2020 at 11:54 am

      @vhg: who cares about Ubisoft? Sure, some people do, but only a handful?

    2. Stv said on January 15, 2020 at 11:42 am

      Yeah the ubi site looks sh1t, thanks.

      Steam killed ubisoft,origin and even gog already. Windows is dying thanks to Steam (which makes me happy).

      1. Anonymoose said on March 5, 2021 at 1:29 am

        Steam killed Ubisoft, Origin, GoG and Windows? Jeez, the sheer level of idiocy on display in this one statement is mind blowing!

  16. Kubrick said on January 15, 2020 at 10:19 am

    Just a little vision of the future maybe.First they neuter adblocking capabilities and now cookies are in the line of fire.I expect cookie controlling extensions to be neutered or removed in the near future.

  17. Stv said on January 15, 2020 at 9:57 am

    It is in the name: 3rd party which means unnecessary.

    I’ve never seen a site breaking because of the disabled 3rd party cookie. It is only used by google if you let it.

    I would like to see just one site that breaks.

    1. John Fenderson said on January 15, 2020 at 4:48 pm


      Most single sign-on systems require third party cookies to function, so people who use those may be impacted.

  18. karl said on January 15, 2020 at 9:42 am

    I living with blocked 3rd party cookies on a desktop machine for the last few years and don’t see any issues.

  19. ard said on January 15, 2020 at 9:07 am

    Chrome is not on my system anymore for the last 1.5 years or so. Firefox is my prime browser as it is soo much better in protecting me.
    Search engine for me is DuckDuckGo and fall-back is Startpage. Justg try to stay away from Google as much as possible.

    If needed I do use Vivaldi browser.

    1. Ed said on January 15, 2020 at 10:35 am

      Startpage uses Google; all it does is preserve your privacy. Try Qwant instead; it uses Bing and maybe some others but not Google.

      1. survivor303 said on January 15, 2020 at 3:48 pm

        duckduckgo.. what happen to that option?

      2. Klaas Vaak said on January 15, 2020 at 11:51 am

        @Ed: +1 for Qwant.

  20. sp808 said on January 15, 2020 at 8:22 am

    They want to eliminate rival in marketing sector, so they can rule the world boundlessly without any restrictions. It is an evil in the purest form.

    They swallow your soul in future through computerized chip implants, controlled by their operating system, called Android. Android it is YOU. You will do what they want, sleep when they want..etc..

    1. Dave said on January 16, 2020 at 2:42 am

      Googles definition of “Privacy” = We’ll never share your data, we’ll only sell it.

      Also, Android is the only reason chrome is #1. Wasn’t Microsoft sued for exactly the same thing google is doing now, embedding thier own browser so deeply into the os?

      You can remove chrome from an android phone but you’ll cripple it in the proccess.

      1. Anonymoose said on March 5, 2021 at 1:26 am

        So true. The sheer amount of crap Apple and Google get away with on mobile is amazing. Clearly they’re much smarter at lobbying and bribing than poor ol’ Microsoft ever was!

    2. W-Flex said on January 15, 2020 at 9:12 am

      And the oscar goes to…

      1. Ron said on January 15, 2020 at 6:41 pm

        A bit dramatic, yes, but (s)he’s more right than wrong.

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