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This week Google announced that some of its Privacy Sandbox tools will see general availability in Chrome 115 starting on July 18, 2023.The APIs for their solution to third party cookies will start to ship in July, Google says.

Ever since the EU adopted its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Google has been looking for a solution to deliver targeted ads without the use of intrusive third-party cookies. These are the data deposited in people’s browsers by third-party scripts on websites. Third party cookies can be malicious in as they can track people online in a manner unbeknownst to end users. As a result, they can violate expectations of privacy.

Anthony Chavez, VP of Privacy Sandbox, detailed the upcoming release in an announcement posted on privacysandbox.com. “With this milestone, developers can utilize these APIs to conduct scaled, live-traffic testing, as they prepare to operate without third-party cookies”, he wrote.

Starting with a 1 percent user test base

In Q1 of 2024, Google is planning to deprecate third-party cookies for one percent of Chrome users, Chavez announces. This will support developers in conducting “real world experiments.” These should assess the readiness and effectiveness of products without third-party cookies, according to the company.

In addition, in Q4 of 2023, Google will introduce the ability for developers to simulate Chrome third-party cookie deprecation for a configurable percentage of their users. This will enable developer-controlled testing that can benefit from higher levels of third party cookie-less traffic, according to Chavez.

Here’s what is shipping now

Google is starting by shipping what they call the “relevance and measurement APIs“. These include Topics to generate signals for interest-based advertising without third-party cookies. In addition, there’s Protected Audience, which allows users to select ads to serve remarketing and custom audience use cases. Furthermore, it is introducing Attribution Reporting, which correlates ad clicks or ad views with conversions and Private Aggregation, which can generate aggregate data reports using data from Protected Audience and cross-site data from Shared Storage. This is an ancillary API that allows unlimited, cross-site storage write access with privacy-preserving read access. Finally, there are Fenced Frames for securely embedding content onto a page without sharing cross-site data.

“With this milestone, developers can utilize these APIs to conduct scaled, live-traffic testing, as they prepare to operate without third-party cookies”, Chavez added.