Google will involve the regulator closely in a project, known as Privacy Sandbox, to develop alternative tracking technologies. It is thought to be the first time a competition regulator has been involved at such an early stage in the creation of a new technology.
In a move following Apple, Google first announced in January that it would ban all advertisers - including itself - from tracking the browsing of web viewers. Instead, it would use artificial intelligence to profile individuals in a way that reserved their privacy.
Following the announcement, the CMA declared a formal investigation into the proposals. Google responded by offering legally binding commitments to involve the regulator in the plans.
The commitments include a promise that Chrome browsing histories will not be used to target adverts; that Google's own advertising products will have no advantage over other advertisers in accessing data; and that the CMA will be proactively engaged in Google’s plans for the future, with a guaranteed pause of at least 60 days before the company ultimately bans third-party cookies.
“We welcomed the opportunity to engage with a regulator with the mandate to promote competition for the benefit of consumers” Oliver Bethnell, the head of Google's EMEA competition team, told The Guardian. “We are offering a set of commitments – the result of many hours of discussions with the CMA and more generally with the broader web community – about how we’ll design and implement the Privacy Sandbox proposals and treat user data in Google’s systems in the years ahead.”