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Google hopes to launch a test phase of the Google Topics API in April. The Topics API maps users’ internet behaviour to push personalized ads. Similar to cookies, but — according to Google — compliant with privacy laws worldwide.

Google is co-dependent on personalized ads. The organization uses data on Internet behaviour to sell valuable ad positions. That data has long been collected with third-party cookies. Google hopes to put a stop to that. Sometime in the next few years, cookies will be blocked in Chrome.

The switch can’t be flipped yet. First, an acceptable alternative must be available. Google attempted the first alternative in 2021: FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts). Google wanted to group users with similar internet behaviour. The groups were targeted with personalized ads. WordPress, GitHub, Amazon and all major browsers perceived FLoC with extreme caution. Most organizations refused to implement the technology due to privacy concerns. Google went back to the drawing board. Now, a year later, the second attempt is presented: Google Topics API.

How does the Google Topics API work?

The Topics API analyzes browser history to determine a user’s areas of interest. When the user visits a site with the Topics API, the API shares three random interest areas with the site. Thereby, the site is able to push personalized content, including ads.

Google promises that users can view and change their areas of interest. The organization says it learned its lesson from FLoC, processing prior feedback in the new design. Unlike FLoC, the Topics API is subject to a lengthy testing phase and feedback from partners and users. The plan is to launch a test phase in April. Google published a technical description of the API on GitHub.