Google announced that it was implementing Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), an essential part of its privacy sandbox project for Chrome. FLoC is considered an alternative to third-party cookies for ad targeting. It runs locally and categorizes your browsing behavior that includes group-like users in a cohort. This will enable users to hide within a crowd of people with similar interests and search history. Cohort enables advertisers to target people based on their interests while maintaining privacy for individual users.
Through a post on its Web Developers blog, Google announced that it would soon prevent websites from registering third-party cookies. The software giant is currently testing FLoC in India, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines and the US. Google is finally planning to roll out the trial version to other regions. Google is not testing FLoC in the European Union due to its general data protection regulations (it is still unclear which FLoC ID should be considered personal data under the rules). Privacy Sandbox product manager Marshall Vale said in a tweet that it is only rolling out a trial version of FLoC in select markets to limit the size of the initial test and that the FLOC testing team “for 100 percent Committed. Privacy Sandbox in Europe
Vale detailed the functioning of FLoC through a blog post stating that it is “a new approach to interest-based advertising that both improves privacy and gives publishers a tool that allows them a viable advertising business model.” Is required. ” The new system will group users with similar interests, giving advertisers the benefit of targeted marketing and at the same time providing adequate privacy to users. Users will become part of a larger group called cohorts that are defined by similarities in browsing history.
FLoC also will not share browsing data to users with Google or any other advertiser. The cohort is identified by a special number (FLOC ID), which is the only thing shared when requested by the website. Chrome also would not share with colleagues to be deemed sensitive. Therefore, if a peer is accessing websites with sensitive content such as religious or political content to users at a high rate, FLoC will not share such data with advertisers.
The search giant will also allow users to voluntarily opt in to FLoC tests, similar to any other privacy sandbox tests. Google also notes that its own ad spaces will have access to the same FLoC ID as third party advertisers. A report on Google’s blog in January this year described how “advertisers can expect to see at least 95 percent of dollar conversions spent compared to cookie-based advertising” through the FLoC system. In January 2020, Google announced that it would create third-party web tracking for cookies on its Chrome browser. Safari announced in March 2020 that the browser would soon block third-party cookies through its Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) system. After the announcement of its Firefox 85 update in January 2021, Firefox followed suit even after it broke on Supercook.