Today, Google expanded their commitment to the full removal of third-party cookies from the Chrome browser.
If the announcement came from another company it would be far less surprising. However Google generates billions of dollars a year from third-party cookies. Doubleclick, now branded simply as Google Marketing Platform, is likely the largest ad platform on the internet and the greatest distributor of third-party cookies.
Why all the fuss over cookies?
When it comes to cookies, let’s be honest: Milano cookies are much more exciting than those used by your internet browser.
However any frequent user of the internet should be interested in cookies of the digital sort. That’s because most have built up a massive archive of tracking cookies, especially users of Google Chrome.
Load any news site nowadays and you will be bombarded with ads, pop-ups, and pesky auto-playing video ads. It’s like we’ve returned to the internet of the 90s.
You’ll have to wait for tens of seconds for that interesting article you just clicked to be visible since your computer is busy processing dozens of ad trackers.
This degregation in the overall internet experience has driven many consumers to take control. The first wave of this came in the form of basic ad blocking technologies.
From Google Chrome plugins to mobile apps, ad blockers make your internet experience much more satisfying.
This trend was not lost by clever marketing departments. In a full embrace, some of the most forward thinking organizations have decided to make privacy their platform.
Privacy as marketing
Apple has become the most vocal, primarily because it’s in their best interest. The company failed miserably at generating an effective ad business. So they did what any smart business does: embraced the failure.
Despite lives lost, Apple gets tons of free advertising every time human-led tragedy strikes. The message is clear: don’t want the government listening even if you are a crimial? Buy Apple products.
Unfortunately this is a total joke as the government can read your email, text messages, and pretty much most of the activity on your device even if they don’t have access to it.
That said, it only further emphasizes consumers’ desire for privacy.
There are also countless articles (like this one) which enumerate all the Google alternative projects.
This trend is not going away and as it grows, will continue to threaten the largest internet companies.
Google: A privacy advocate?
Which brings me back to Google.
Google’s announcement is a far cry from an open embrace of privacy. In fact, their two year commitment is a relatively distant milestone considering all the viable competitors with ad blocking tools built in.
Add in the fact that you’ll never hear somebody say, “Man, I really would love some more personalized ads on all my favorite news sites.”
Yet this announcement, which is unsurprisingly buried in one of their less read blogs, is indicative of where things are headed despite Google’s greatest desires. As the largest internet advertiser, Google is far from motivated to make changes that damage their core business model.
As a global corporation though, Google is motivated to provide a service that the consumers demand. It turns out that what they increasingly demand is privacy.
For Google, today’s announcement left an (incredibly tiny) seed of hope that one of the greatest privacy exploiters of our lives may one day give consumers the tools to take back control.