Google announced today that its Privacy Sandbox APIs will be available by default to all Chrome users in July 2023.
However, general availability (GA), Google says, does not mean that 100 per cent of Chrome browsers immediately have the APIs enabled — they will be made available gradually, as the company monitors and responds to potential issues. But browser flags or participation in an origin trial will no longer be required, and users can always control if the APIs are active.
Privacy Sandbox was initially announced in Aug. 2019 as an open-source initiative to incorporate more privacy-friendly features in Chrome.
A few months later, the company revealed that it intends to wipe out third-party cookies within two years, and started trials aimed at addressing “the needs of users, publishers, and advertisers and mitigate privacy workarounds.” That deadline has since been pushed to the second half of 2024.
The company plans to roll out the following in Q3 2023:
- Topics – generate signals for interest-based advertising, without third party cookies
- Protected Audience – Ads to serve remarketing and custom audience use cases
- Attribution Reporting – Correlate ad clicks or ad views with conversions
- Private Aggregation – Generate aggregate data reports using data from Protected Audience and cross-site data from Shared Storage
- Shared Storage – Allow unlimited cross-site storage write access with privacy-preserving read access.
- Fenced Frames – Embed content onto a page without sharing cross-site data.
In March this year, Google published the results from testing these new ad solutions, which it said “showed promise”.
The aim with these APIs, Google said, is to foster greater privacy, transparency, choice, and control without undermining the business model of ad-supported websites.
Google also seeks to mitigate the use of invasive workarounds to replace cookies, such as fingerprinting. These arise as a result of platforms blocking third-party cookies, which the company referred to as “blunt approaches” that have “unintended consequences.”
The complete deprecation of third-party cookies is targeted for the second half of next year. Google will first start by allowing developers to simulate the deprecation “for a configurable percentage of their users”, starting in Q4 2023. After that, the company will shift one per cent of Chrome users to Privacy Sandbox in Q1 2024.
Meanwhile, Google recommends that developers “become informed”, and identify what changes are coming to ensure their sites are ready.