Google Introduces FLoC An Alternative To Third-Party Cookie Tracking

FLoC is a new way to interest-based advertising that both enhances privacy and gives publishers a tool they require for viable advertising business models.

In order to improve user privacy while still providing a viable way for publishers to make money via advertising, Google is rolling out a new web technology - Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) - as a developer origin trial in Chrome. 

Google said that FLoC is a new way to interest-based advertising that both enhances privacy and gives publishers a tool they require for viable advertising business models. Well, the solution is still in development and Google wants it to evolve based on input from the web community and learnings from this initial trial.

FLoC lets users to remain anonymous as they browse across websites and also enhances privacy by allowing publishers to present relevant ads to large groups knowns as cohorts. Here, cohorts are defined by similarities in browsing history, but they’re not based on who you are individually. So, which cohort you are in currently, frequently changes as your browsing history changes. 

It is your browser that determines which cohort corresponds most closely to your recent web browsing history, grouping you with thousands of other users who have similar browsing histories. "The identification number of the cohort is the only thing provided when requested by a site. This is different from third-party cookies, which allow companies to follow you individually across different sites.". 

Source: Google

Another important feature is that chrome browser won’t create groups that it deems sensitive. Chrome checks if a cohort is visiting pages with sensitive topics, like medical websites or websites with political or religious content, at a high rate; and ensures that such cohort isn’t used. Google has created a detailed technical paper on how this works.

FLoC is currently rolling out with a small percentage of users in Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Canada, India, Philippines, New Zealand, and the U.S. It will expand to other regions as the trial expands globally.



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