Google Slammed: Over the replacement for ads-cookies flip-flop


Google’s “indecision” about the type of technology it is looking to replace with ads-cookies has been criticized by some within the ad industry. The news comes as the technology giant has announced that its interest-based user tracking technology, Topics, would now replace the previous system, Floc.

One marketing executive stated:

“This constant indecision does not create confidence.”

Third-party ad cookies make use of users’ browsing history to create ads, which then move from one site to the next. The privacy community and the regulators have continuously struggled against them.

Google has agreed to limit the number of websites they enable access through the Chrome browser. It holds around 65% market share.

The original plan was to stop them this year, but the plan was delayed until 2023. removal until 2023.

Half-baked idea

Floc (Federated Learning of Cohorts) was designed to hide individuals’ identities through the assignment of them into a group or flock that has similar browsing history.

The idea was not well-liked by both privacy advocates as well as advertisers.

Farhad Divecha, founder of the digital marketing company AccuraCast stated that it “didn’t seem to make sense to the majority of advertisers, who aren’t analysts of data”.

“The system received lots of criticism after Google first introduced the ads-cookies system,” the Google spokesperson said, “and it was largely perceived as an unproven idea Google has rushed out the window in response to changes in the field of advertising or privacy.”

“The last year has made it quite obvious that Google isn’t quite sure of the best path to take.”

Sensitive concerns

In a blog post, Google confirmed Floc would become replaced by Topics which is a similar system that groups users into topic clusters chosen from around 350 categories like travel or fitness.

Topics determine the interest of users and save them for three weeks, before deleting them.

If someone visits a site, Topics will show the site’s advertising partners and three of their top interests in the last three weeks.

Google said it wouldn’t share the most sensitive of interests, like race or gender, Google said.

Users who are targeted

Users would also be able to delete any feature they do not like or completely disable the feature.

But one advertising-technology company was unclear about how Topics would help advertisers better target users.

“Google’s most recent proposal on Topics can only be used on one channel – the Chrome browser. It can’t be applied to the various devices that the majority of users are using to browse the internet.”


“This means advertisers are limited to basic targeting strategies.”

Privacy-oriented browser Brave which has 50 million users who are active said that Google’s recent change in strategy was actually just a continuation of the similar.

“The Topics API [application programming interface] is, in the end, similar to Floc,”


“In both cases, the browser monitors the websites you visit, then uses the information to classify your interests in browsing and, in turn, lets the browser communicate that information to advertisers.”

It wasn’t the sole responsibility of Google to act as “the arbitrator of what people think is sensitive data”.

“People must choose what they think is sensitive, and not Google,”


Its actions were just “paying lip service to defend the open internet” while retaining its position.

Related Articles

Apple Watch Deals