Google has released Chrome 115, another new version, but in this version the Privacy Sandbox has now become generally available. This includes the Topics API which will soon share general interests of users from within the browser. Topics API should become the replacement for third-party cookies.
Privacy has become much more important in recent years. Many big tech giants including Google are under a magnifying glass. Many tech companies use so-called third-party cookies to track users across the Internet. The entire revenue model of Facebook and Google was once based on third-party cookies. Meanwhile, those companies have found other methods to track users and serve ads.
With the stronger focus on privacy and the introduction of GDPR, Google realized that those third-party cookies would not make it. So it came up with an alternative, initially, FloC, but the industry quickly shot down that concept. Now it is Topics API that will eventually replace those third-party cookies. The beginning was made today because in Chrome 115, Topics API was officially made GA (general available).
The next step is for everyone to install Chrome 115 on their smartphones and PCs. This will happen automatically, but Google expects 99% of Chrome users to be on version 115 by mid-August. That also means organisations and developers can switch to Topics API instead of third-party cookies.
For this, companies have six months to a year. Starting Jan. 1, Google will phase out support for third-party cookies from Chrome. The goal is to bring the curtain down on third-party cookies by mid-2024. People using Firefox or Safari have already stopped using third-party cookies in most cases.
As for Topics API in other browsers. Apple and Mozilla are against the concept of Topics API, which is why they will not support it in Safari and Firefox. Microsoft Edge uses Chromium’s Blink Engine. Whether Edge will also support Topics API is not yet entirely clear. The fact is that there will soon be no uniform method for tracking users across the Internet in any browser.