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Google’s plan to overhaul web advertising and user tracking by abandoning third-party cookie support in Chrome has been delayed. Most browsers block third-party cookies now. However, Google, the world’s largest ad company, was not going to do the same, without protecting its business model.

The company has a plan for what will replace cookies. The system it has proposed is controversial, to say the least, and is known as FLoC.

Many of the biggest internet companies came out against the idea, while the EU launched an antitrust investigation into this new scheme.

Pushback prompts delay

Now, Google says that it has become clear that more time is needed “across the ecosystem” to find a way that works better. The new timeline pushes back the abandonment of third-party cookies by about a year and a half.

In January 2020, Google announced the plan to drop support for third-party cookies in Chrome within two years.

The Chrome ‘Privacy Sandbox’ will block the third-party cookies used for targeted ads. However, given that Google makes a ton of money off ads, ‘not tracking users at all’ does not seem to be an option.

How Google says FLoC works

Google came up with the ‘Federated Learning of Cohorts’ as the primary alternative for cookies. Instead of individual companies hiding a third-party cookie on users’ devices to track them, FLoC would let Chrome build an ad profile locally on your computer.

The profile would then be shipped to advertisers whenever they ask.

Google says the plan is better than third-party cookies because it will take individual identification out of the ad-tracking process by combining people into groups. Many have disputed the idea.

Google is clear on one thing though: it will not stop tracking users entirely, not when its multi-billion ads business brought in over $146 billion last year.