Google announced earlier this year that it would join with other web browser companies to block third-party cookies in Chrome, and today developers have their first chance to test a proposed alternative to user tracking on the Web: Trusted Tokens.
Unlike cookies, trusted tokens are designed to authenticate a user without needing to know their identity. Trusted tokens might not be able to track users across websites because they are theoretically all the same, but they could still allow websites to prove to advertisers that real users – not bots – have visited or clicked on a site. on an ad. (An explainer on GitHub suggests that websites could issue multiple types of trusted tokens, however.)
Google has been a bit slower to adapt a solution for third-party tracking cookies that everyone apparently hates; Safari and Firefox already block them by default, although Safari is more aggressive about this. But Mike Schulman, Google’s vice president for privacy and ad security, reiterated in a blog post that the company still plans to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome as well.
In addition, Google is making some changes to the “Why this ad” button that lets you see why certain ads are targeting you. The new wording “About this ad” will now also provide the verified name of the advertiser, so you can tell which businesses target you and make it more clear to people how Google collects personal data for ads. The new labels will begin to roll out towards the end of the year.
The company also announced an extension for its Chrome browser, now in alpha version, called Ads Transparency Spotlight, which is expected to provide “detailed information about all the ads they see on the web.” Users will be able to see details about the ads on a given page, see why the ads are showing on a page and a list of other companies and services on the page, such as website analytics or broadcast networks of content.