Google intros Topics API to replace third-party cookies
Google has just announced Topics, a new Privacy Sandbox proposal for interest-based advertising. It is the latest proposal designed to keep users personal information private online while showing the content they’re interested in.
According to the company, Topics was informed by Google’s learning and widespread community feedback from their earlier FLoC trials, and replaces their Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) proposal.
Google mentioned that with Topics, user’s browser determines a handful of topics, like “Fitness” or “Travel & Transportation,” that represent their top interests for that week based on the browsing history. Watch the video below.
“Topics are kept for only three weeks and old topics are deleted. Topics are selected entirely on your device without involving any external servers, including Google servers. When you visit a participating site, Topics picks just three topics, one topic from each of the past three weeks, to share with the site and its advertising partners. Topics enables browsers to give you meaningful transparency and control over this data, and in Chrome, we’re building user controls that let you see the topics, remove any you don’t like or disable the feature completely,” said Google in a blog post.
Moreover, Google said that topics are thoughtfully curated to exclude sensitive categories, such as gender or race. It also provides users with a more recognizable way to see and control how their data is shared, compared to tracking mechanisms like third-party cookies.
Here’s the company’s sample illustrations of what you can see about 3rd party cookies (left) vs Topics (right):
Google plans to launch a developer trial of Topics in Chrome that includes user controls, and enables website developers and the ads industry to test it out.