Should Google delay plans to kill off third-party cookies?

Key ad tech players are set to discuss whether Google should postpone its planned two-year elimination of third-party cookies because of the widespread disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Cookies enable advertisers (like Campaign) to run user-specific ads on publishers' websites
Cookies enable advertisers (like Campaign) to run user-specific ads on publishers' websites

A key player that develops international standards for the web is reportedly lobbying for Google to delay its planned phasing out of third-party cookies in its Chrome browser because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

A member of the World Wide Web Consortium told AdExchanger that it plans to petition Google to postpone the move, announced in January, by up to a year. The petition could be sent as early as next month. 

The extension request will be discussed a meeting later today (26 March) of the consortium’s Improving Web Advertising Business Group. The group includes Google itself, alongside other giants such as Facebook, Amazon and Apple and ad tech companies like MediaMath, Rubicon and Criteo.

The World Wide Web Consortium is an international group that develops standards and protocols for the web. A spokeswoman told Campaign that the group does not take particular positions but individual companies within the group may share their positions within the group. 

Earlier this week Apple confirmed that it had completely blocked all third-party tracking by default on iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices. In a software update (iOS 13.4 and Safari 13.1 on Mac), cookies for "cross-site resources are now blocked by default across the board". 

Safari and Mozilla's Firefox have moved first among the major web browsers to block third-party cookies. The vast majority of Google's income comes from advertising. 

Cookies allow advertisers to follow users around the internet to observe their web browsing habits to personalised digital marketing. Since GDPR came into force in Europe in 2018, publishers must make efforts to gain proper user consent for enabling cookies for the purposes of tracking.

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