Google is pushing ahead with its plan to replace third-party cookies in its Chrome browser with interest-based tracking, the so-called "Privacy Sandbox". On Thursday, the American digital company announced that the "Relevance" and "Measurement" programming interfaces of the Privacy Sandbox will be made generally available with the version of Chrome coming in July. In February of this year, Google had already started a beta test of the technology with selected users.

Gregor Brunner

Editor in business.

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The broad release is intended to allow developers to conduct their own trials with tracking in the new environment. For this purpose, you can test your products on real data traffic with the help of the interfaces and prepare for the end of cookies.

Competition authorities and the advertising industry are keeping a close eye on the process, as there is a risk that Google could torpedo a large part of its competitors' revenues in the advertising market by preventing targeted tracking of users. Google makes the majority of its money from advertising through its search engine. In the first quarter of 2023, the deal brought in $54.5 billion for the company.

The Chrome browser has a global market share of around 63 percent with around 3.2 billion users. If advertisers could no longer track users with third-party cookies and show them advertising, Google search would become much more attractive as an advertising space – Google can come up with a large treasure trove of first-hand data. For 1 percent of all Chrome users, i.e. presumably 32 million, third-party cookies will then be switched off in the first quarter of 2024, Google further announced.

Because of Google's market position in online advertising, the company is facing antitrust lawsuits in several countries, including the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands. However, in a report on the Privacy Sandbox for the first quarter of 2023, the British competition authority CMA indicated that Google has so far adhered to the authority's requirements and is responding to complaints from the advertising and media industries, even if concerns remain.