Masterclassing

Google delays phase-out of third-party cookie support in Chrome until the end of 2023

David Murphy

Google has put back its plans to phase out support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser by almost two years, moving the implementation date from January 2022 to the end of 2023.

Google’s plans to phase out cookies on Chrome form part of its Privacy Sandbox initiative, which it says aims to create web technologies that both protect people’s privacy online and give companies and developers the tools to build thriving digital businesses to keep the web open and accessible to everyone.

To make this happen, Google said it believes the web community needs to come together to develop a set of open standards to enhance privacy on the web. But in a blog post published today Chrome Privacy Engineering Director, Vinny Goel, said that in order to do this “we need to move at a responsible pace” in order to “allow sufficient time for public discussion on the right solutions, continued engagement with regulators, and for publishers and the advertising industry to migrate their services. This is important to avoid jeopardizing the business models of many web publishers which support freely available content.

Goel added that Google’s goal for Chrome is to have the key technologies deployed by late 2022 for the developer community to start adopting them. Then, subject to the company’s  engagement with the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and in line with the commitments it has offered, Chrome could then phase out third-party cookies over a three month period, starting in mid-2023 and ending in late 2023. 

Google plans to announce the start of stage 1 in late 2022, once testing is complete and APIs are launched in Chrome. During stage 1, publishers and the advertising industry will have time to migrate their services. Google said it expects this process to take nine months, during which it will monitor adoption and feedback before moving to stage 2.

In stage 2, starting mid-2023, Chrome will phase out support for third-party cookies over a three month period finishing in “late 2023”.

While Google’s plans to phase out third party cookies in Chrome have not been well received by the ad tech industry, its decision to delay the move probably has more to do with appeasing the regulators. Earlier this month, the CMA revealed that Google has agreed to let the regulator have a say in Google’s plans, over concerns that the move could negatively impact businesses that use personalised advertising.