Google has started disabling third-party cookies for Chrome users

Tracking Protection has rolled out to one percent of Chrome users.


Google has just disabled third-party cookies for one percent of Chrome users, years after it first introduced its Privacy Sandbox project. The company announced late last year that it will kick things off by disabling cookies for a random one percent of Chrome users globally on January 4. Chrome owns more than half of the worldwide browser market share, and according to Gizmodo, that means Google has killed cookies for 30 million users.

People included in this rollout will see a notification when they launch their browser telling them they're one of the first to experience Tracking Protection. It also explains that Tracking Protection limits sites from using third-party cookies to track them as they browse. Since this rollout is bound to break a few websites that have yet to adapt to a change that will affect most people who go on the internet, Google will allow users to temporary re-enable third-party cookies. They can do so by clicking on the eye icon that's now on their browser bar to toggle off the new feature.

Google's Privacy Sandbox initiative, just like its name implies, was designed to be an alternative to cookies that will allow advertisers to serve users ads while also protecting their privacy. It assigns users to groups according to their interests, based on their recent browsing activities, and advertisers can use that information to match them with relevant ads. The system is supposed to be less invasive than cookies — all data and processing take place on the device itself, and Google says it will store user interests for three weeks. The project has caught the attention of regulators over concerns that it will make the company even more powerful than it already is. But if all goes well, Google will continue rolling out Tracking Protection over the next few months until it has disabled third-party cookies for all Chrome users by mid-2024.