Google’s Cookie Apocalypse

By Sandhya Anand

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Well, apparently Google has decided to throw them all out. 

Google has decided to stop supporting third party cookies. Now what really are cookies, you may ask? Cookies are text files that contain small pieces of data. These tiny amounts of data are used to identify your device as you browse the internet. They are used to improve your web browsing experience and track your data. Such a powerful tool is often used by third party companies to monitor your browsing data and channel specific advertising to you that is catered towards your needs.

By Google refusing to support this powerful piece of technology, it places many businesses at risk. Many fear that it has the power to shape the future of the internet. Google is not the first of its kind to take this stance. Apple’s Safari was the first to issue a third party statement against these cookies. Many have spoken against this stance and are fearful of what’s to come. 

 “The ad ecosystem we see today would not exist without cookies. That is how fundamental they are,” says Ratko Vidakovic, founder of consultant agency AdProfs. “Losing them is extremely disruptive from a technical perspective, because they are used by industry at every stage: planning, targeting, measurement and attribution of sales.”

The whole issue was mainly brought up by consumers due to the lack of privacy users experience in today’s world. Almost all our data is uploaded onto some form of social media that exposes a plethora of personal information for the world to know and use. The release of this news was followed by a lot of flattering news articles and publications in support of privacy. 

Nevertheless, there are some individuals who feel that Google has tilted the competition in their favour. Google had even issued a statement outlining a strong reluctance regarding ad companies using their email addresses for targeted advertising. If publishers combine their users’ email addresses with data held by other companies to build up personal profiles, it warned, then both internet users and regulators are likely to reject the advertisements. By not supporting third party cookies Google puts everyone at an unequal playing field. This is explained by Jean-Bapiste Rudelle, who is the founder of Criteo. Criteo is a french ADTech company whose capitalisation reached 3.5bn in 2017 and has been now reduced to 1bn. 

“The first time we were caught off guard, we didn’t really think this would be a risk,”  Rudelle stated regarding the removal of cookies from all major web browser players.  “We were a bit in panic mode because, wow . . . those guys overnight can press a button and hurt us a lot.”

Looking forward, we are going to see a change in how adtech companies work. The industry,which is more than 25 years old, will experience a huge change and rework in their operations and business model to survive without the very essence of their operations: cookies.

Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

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