That's why Google is taking this step, with plans to personalize ads even after the backlash generated by it and advertisers kill the technology known as third-party cookies to the company.
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Next year, Alphabet Inc.'s Google plans to phase out technology in its Chrome browser that allows other companies to track users' web browsing. But this does not mean that you will see irrelevant ads, or that the pair of shoes you have seen will stop following you around the web.
That's why Google is taking this step, with plans to personalize ads even after the backlash generated by it and the company killing the technology known as third-party cookies by advertisers.
Serious data breaches at the beginning of the last decade have led to the breaking of privacy laws in the European Union and California since 2018, imposing significant penalties on violators.
The laws brought an end to the era of large tech companies tracking users' every move – often without permission – and sharing that data however they wanted with other businesses. Google, Apple Inc, Facebook Inc and almost every other big internet company have become more explicit in allowing users to control what companies know about them.
Cookies are a foundation of the web, which allows you to visit a news publisher every time without entering log-in credentials, for example.
Also read How a privacy tool detects which websites are tracking you
Apple's safari, Mozilla's Firefox and Brave have been at the forefront of restricting that practice, and are now holding Chrome, the global market leader, with about 60% share.
For years, online advertising technology companies, including Google, could tell a shoe retailer to read a shoe on Nike.com to personalize an ad to get someone to read Reuters.com's article that week. Track and check for a specific color on FootLocker. com.
Under these new policies, tracking multiple websites is not possible.
As an alternative, Google is testing a way for businesses to target ads from consumers who have similar interests, which it says will be more private as it hides individual users in a crowd.
Also read Facebook to provide data on political advertisements targeted to researchers
The technology, part of a project called the Privacy Sandbox, will use an algorithm to group people according to their normal web browsing. Each group will have a minimum membership, so individuals cannot be identified.
Brands may target their ads to clusters interested in purchasing cars, for example, rather than relying on cookies that have tracked specific users in car-buying websites.
Large business groups representing advertisers have called on Google to delay phasing out cookies until an option proves appropriate. Google said in January that its testing showed that the clustering system could be effective.
In January the UK's Competition and Markets Authority launched an investigation into whether restricting cookies to Chrome would help Google increase its dominance in the online advertising industry.
Critics say that Google is banning competitors from creating huge profiles on users, while Chrome continues to add such dossiers to develop features of its own.
Google disputed that notion in a blog post on Wednesday. The company has vowed not to develop work-around for itself, and is committed to continuing to allow ads to be targeted based on data it receives directly from consumers.
Other systems proposed by rivals of Google advertising technology include one from Trade Desk Inc. that relies on encrypted copies of email addresses that people use to log on to websites. The Washington Post said that in December it would adopt the trade desk equipment, called Unified ID 2.0.
It is also possible that showing ads to someone based on the activities done on a website will make it unpopular. Before advancing cookies to targeting, advertisements were usually related to surrounding content, so a video about vaccines contained advertisements from medical areas.