back to article Google's FLoC flies into headwinds as internet ad industry braces for instability

With Google testing its FLoC ad technology in preparation for the planned elimination of third-party cookies next year, uncertainty about potential problems and growing legal support for privacy is shaking up the digital ad industry. The move away from third-party cookies will have significant financial impact on the ad …

  1. Warm Braw Silver badge

    It's imperative that the new technology ... allows for legally compliant data-sharing

    It's not imperative at all. There's no compulsion on technology to facilitate a third party's business model, though, regrettably, sufficient money usually overcomes any resistance.

    It ought to be imperative, however, that technology allows people to avoid being opted-in to unwanted data-sharing and it is indeed imperative in an increasing number of legal jurisdictions. It's overdue, but it's happening.

    I have no sympathy for the cries of "we need time to adjust" - it's exactly the same argument as a burglar finding it difficult to go straight and demanding the right to keep on burgling in the meantime.

    1. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

      Re: It's imperative that the new technology ... allows for legally compliant data-sharing

      Well yes. The challenge is this: The user would like to use the Internet. The user may be exposed to adverts, but what is an acceptable level of stalking?

      Marketing executives would say "I will look good if I can plot user graphs, genders, ages, interest, previous Web history, postcode, whether they like furry porn etc.". While the ad tech crowd will sell any user data they can cram on your device.

      But some users will hate all of the above and go to great lengths to disable it, because ultimately they just want to go on the internet, and not get digitally stalked. If I had a pound, for each time Facebook reset or changed my privacy settings.... (and yes I probably shouldn't use it in the first place).

      1. Stanislav Bonita
        Flame

        Re: It's imperative that the new technology ... allows for legally compliant data-sharing

        No stalking is acceptable. That is the level. Zero.

        When I open a browser and start visiting websites, no-one has the right to know who I am or where I have been before, and I will use all possible means to deny them that knowledge.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: It's imperative that the new technology ... allows for legally compliant data-sharing

          Then get off the Internet, cut off all power and go live in a cave (the woods won't work, as there are surveillance aircraft). If you don't like other people watching you, your only real alternative is to walk away.

          Think about it. When you walk into a brick-and-mortar store, there are cameras everywhere usually. Probably microphones, too. So when you enter someone else's domain, or even out on the public streets, you have no expectation of privacy. Period. And other people's websites are just as much their domain as their brick-and-mortar stores.

          1. The Sprocket

            Re: It's imperative that the new technology ... allows for legally compliant data-sharing

            Hmmmmm . . . not quite. Digital stalking can garner a lot of information about a person to a much greater degree than a security camera ANYWHERE can. Security cameras only capture your face, and may capture your movements within a store. Information that is not captured and stored in a databank like digital stalking can be. Unless you interact with checkout at the brick-and-mortar location, you are still invisible. Use cash at the checkout and you may remain so.

            Not really the same comparison.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: It's imperative that the new technology ... allows for legally compliant data-sharing

              One camera, maybe, but imagine a whole network of them, like a local Panopticon, interacting with other local Panopticons and being run through increasingly-sophisticated tracking and recognition systems. You wanna see the cutting edge? Try a casino's surveillance network.

              1. The Sprocket

                Re: It's imperative that the new technology ... allows for legally compliant data-sharing

                "You wanna see the cutting edge? Try a casino's surveillance network."

                Do you know how much dough casinos put into their surveillance? FAR MORE that what the average retail chain wants to put in—and pay to administer constantly.

                1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  Re: It's imperative that the new technology ... allows for legally compliant data-sharing

                  It mostly depends on what's at stake. Casinos deal with lots of cash and are at risk for high-stakes heists and robberies, so they put in accordingly. Still, don't count out the top-tier retailers like Walmart and Target. They have the dosh to use better gear and better stuff on top of it to return on the investment. A high-end big-box security room may not match the war room in a casino, but it's not just a single screen and a VCR, either. Plus, cutting-edge tech ages and gets passed down, meaning what you see in casinos eventually gets cheaper and gets used by the big-boxers, too.

      2. Adelio Silver badge

        Re: It's imperative that the new technology ... allows for legally compliant data-sharing

        In my honest opinion if i never have to experience a single add EVER again it will not be to soon.

        Even if large swaths od the web dissapear.

        Facebook, Twatter etc. They can all disapear as far as I am concerned.

        1. hoola Silver badge

          Re: It's imperative that the new technology ... allows for legally compliant data-sharing

          The trouble is that the giants will be the ones surviving.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: It's imperative that the new technology ... allows for legally compliant data-sharing

      The advertising should profile the website you are visiting, or the page, and supply an ad that is consistent with what the page is showing. You don't need any user information to provide a suitable advert.

      How have papers managed to survive centuries without this technology? Or radio and TV for the best part of a century? They could never provide personalized advertising, the advertisers had to rely on looking at what was being shown and position their adverts in the appropriate slots, based on content and number of expected viewers/readers.

      In my experience, "personalized" advertising has consisted of trying to sell me high-priced, one-off items that I have just purchased. "Just bought a new dishwasher? Here are 20 other dishwashers for the kitchens in your house!" Or, "just bought a new high-end smartphone? Here are a dozen other high-end smartphones you don't want to buy any more."

      The current "personalized" advertising is a waste of users time and is conning the advertisers out of money. For example, Amazon knows I have just bought a dishwasher or a smartphone, yet it keeps charging advertisers for supplying me with adverts for products it knows I already have and wouldn't be interested in buying again for between 3 and 15 years...

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: It's imperative that the new technology ... allows for legally compliant data-sharing

        "How have papers managed to survive centuries without this technology? Or radio and TV for the best part of a century?"

        Most of them were local, so there was enough of a degree of monopoly and personalization that they mattered.

        What you should ask yourself instead is, "Will newspapers, radio, TV, etc. survive the next ten years in their current format?"

        Based on a search of "decline of news," the answer may well be, "Probably not."

  2. tiggity Silver badge

    BS Bingo

    "Gowthaman Ragothaman, CEO of Aqilliz, a blockchain marketing analytics firm"

    blockchain marketing analytics - almost a full house on my BS bingo card with one company description

  3. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Snake Oil

    Even when Amazon and eBay know both my buying history and what I've just actually bought, as opposed to just looked at, and even when it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing, they still place ad, after ad, after pointless fucking ad for days or sometimes weeks afterwards for the same product.

    The ad industry did very well for years by shotgun blasting ads based on very broad classification of targets, i.e. the type of person likely to be reading this paper or magazine or watching this television programme. What's different now is that some companies are making obscene amounts of money by selling their snake oil and they don't want to have to go back to the old days when they only made decent money and, pro-rata, had to work much harder for it.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Snake Oil

      When advertisers shotgun blast ads in newspapers and on TV, their clients don't know if the ads are working. That used to be the joke about advertising - "I know half of my ad budget is wasted, the problem is I don't know which half!"

      The wet dream of advertisers is to be able to tell clients how well their ads are working. They tried claiming clickthrough was a measure of interest, but when ads became more and more obnoxious and more and more clicks became accidents - and there was enough money to be made that click fraud became a thing, now no one believes clickthrough is meaningful any longer.

      They desperately want to be able to trace "ad for x was shown, the person who saw it bought x" as the true holy grail. The problem is, if you see ad for x on Facebook on your phone at home, then buy x from Amazon on your work PC, they need to personally identify YOU as an individual to match things up.

      Google is doing everything they can to create that future, while hiding that fact from the public. What's more, they want to claim the scheme is "privacy protecting" because only Google has access to that data, and will try to claim it protects your privacy because your name isn't attached (because we trust Google to throw away such valuable information) and third parties only get aggregate info - that serves their goal too because they want to be the only one able to collect this data and give advertisers no option but to trust the metrics they claim.

      If the congress is getting serious about monopoly enforcement, forcing Google to split Chrome off from the rest of the business, and Android as well, and prohibit them from being involved in developing web standards would be a good first step.

      1. D. Evans

        Re: Snake Oil

        https://www.mediavillage.com/article/which-half-of-my-advertising-is-wasted-and-it-is-only-half/ is an actual quote, not a joke.

        And I think governments outside of the US will force changes long before anything happens in the USA.

        1. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

          Re: Snake Oil

          an actual quote, not a joke

          Not only is it not a joke, I seriously think that the actual advertisers would be very happy if their ads were not shown to people who don't want to see them. It would reduce potential waste for them.

          It is the advertising brokers who want to push ads to everybody and his sister. Costs virtually nothing, actually probably less than additional logic to identify the disinterested ones, and even a relatively small accidental click-through rate will be noticeable revenue.

      2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: Snake Oil

        They desperately want to be able to trace "ad for x was shown, the person who saw it bought x" as the true holy grail.

        So... do some market research to find out! Companies try to steal my privacy, with no financial compensation, to avoid spending money with legitimate market research companies. That is piracy, and in much larger amounts than copyright violation.

        If you want to know that information, either pay a market research company, or make me a direct offer to tell you. For example, if you offer a refund to my credit card of 10% of what I have just paid you in exchange for answering some questions I will consider it. I will know how much my privacy is worth to you and can compare that with what it is worth to me.

        1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Snake Oil

          > For example, if you offer a refund to my credit card of 10% of what I have just paid you in exchange for answering some questions I will consider it.

          The only possible consequence of such an idea is that retail prices increase by 10% to compensate.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Snake Oil

            You wish! If so, the product competitor will off 0% for filling out the questionaire (I have never seen a higher offer than 0), and they will be selling their product for 10% less.

          2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

            Re: Snake Oil

            Except that their competitor will experiment with only raising prices 5%, offering 5% off and discovering that that makes them more money - because the poorer marketing information is more than compensated by being the lower price option.

            I am very sure that companies would quickly realise that this marketing information is really not worth very much after all. The losers will be the marketing data companies - couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Snake Oil

              Besides, there's a huge psychological trigger behind the word "FREE".

              Why do you think free trial scams get so much traction?

        2. DS999 Silver badge

          Answering questions at checkout

          I don't have a problem with answering a single question like "where did you hear about our product" at checkout. Though I would probably lie if I heard about it on Facebook or Google, because I don't want to encourage the bastards.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Snake Oil

      Yes. given that the ad servers currently seem to ignore all signals they are collecting and just post ads for stuff we have already bought / aren't interested in, they really don't need to be collecting that data in the first place.

    3. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Snake Oil

      The ad industry did very well for years by shotgun blasting ads based on very broad classification of targets

      Not for want of trying to be more specific.

      In the early 1970s my first job out of university was working in the marketing department of a magazine publisher (I was young, and I didn't know any better). The main sources of data were the National Readership Survey, which analysed readership by socio-economic classification, and Target Group Index, which covered things llike ownership of consumer products and preference for new products. The tools available were a slide rule and a set of statistical tables.

      The requirement was to provide the ad salesmen with statistics they could use to show advertisers that our titles offered a lower the cost per thousand readers for who would buy their product. The problem was always sample size. These were big surveys, but by the time you'd narrowed it down to C2 readers of magazine X who owned a sewing machine and liked new products, the sample was so small that the figures lost all significance.

    4. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Snake Oil

      "What's different now is that some companies are making obscene amounts of money by selling their snake oil and they don't want to have to go back to the old days when they only made decent money and, pro-rata, had to work much harder for it."

      What's really different is which companies are actually involved. It's the likes of Google and Facebook that get the most mention in these discussions, but it's important to remember that neither of them are actually advertisers. In the past, it was simple. One company wanted to advertise its services, another was willing to host said advert in exchange for payment. Which part of that is Google involved in? Neither. They're just a middleman which has forcibly inserted themselves in between the two parties with an actual interest in the transaction. That's why they're so obsessed with tracking. They don't actually offer anything of value other than the promise that advertising which already existed will be in some way more effective.

      And this makes it obvious why they're fighting so hard against privacy. It's not advertisers who don't want to go back to the old days when it was slightly harder to know if they're adverts worked. It's middlemen who don't want to go back to the old days when they didn't exist at all. It's not about wanting to make just a bit more money, it's an existential threat to their entire business.

  4. b0llchit Silver badge
    Stop

    Where is the other side?

    If one party makes a lot of money, then most react with things like "oh, well done", "how did you manage" or "you must be very happy".

    The real question one should ask is "who payed for your wealth?". The answer is, of course, all the others where the poorest and not-so-fortunate probably payed most of the price.

    This floc discussion is exactly the same. It will bring in a lot for few (especially google), but the real people in the floc (the entire population) will pay for that. The price may seem low at first, but some valuables cannot be bought back once known or sold. In the end that is exactly your very high price and the very value which companies, as google, use to make fortunes.

    1. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      Re: Where is the other side?

      Of course payed = paid.

      Just sayin'. :-)

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Where is the other side?

      This assumes that it's a zero-sum game, which is not necessarily true.

  5. Wade Burchette Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Google can take their Filthy Lucre and stick where the sun doesn't shine.

    1. sev.monster Bronze badge
      Coat

      FLuc? I like that acronym better. You can even use it as a verb: Join our programme and Get FLucced! Great new marketing opportunity, don't forget my royalties.

  6. LenG

    Choice of browser

    I rarely use chrome and I can see that usage drop to zero. Hopefully there will continue to be other browsers which do not implement this crap.

    I am disappointed that mozilla have not rejected it.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Choice of browser

      As long as chromium and firefox remain open source, forks will be kept up-to-date, but be able to disable floc.

      I don't know the licensing issues, but I expect chromium as a separate project to be abandoned, and all Google's future work done directly on the closed-sourced chrome.

      1. sev.monster Bronze badge
        Gimp

        Re: Choice of browser

        As the owners of the code, they should be able to (or at least will be able to get away with) re-licensing all future commits and releases under a proprietary license that doesn't allow for redistribution at all. They can't stop anyone from using the existing code, but they can stop distributing new code. IANAL, and I prepped so it's clean.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: Choice of browser

          My uncertainty was due to the fact it was originally a fork of a fork. I guess if all the non-google had a non-GPL (or similarly restrictive) license, then they'll be ok.

          Cheers

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Choice of browser

      Mozilla is a shell of the company it once was. Their claim to privacy is a marketing gimmick. They don't listen to their users and continue to piss us off by breaking shit to """improve privacy""" which it doesn't even do, or to """improve performance""" when instead of replacing one shitty implementation with a slightly faster but also shitty implementation they could keep compatibility and improve performance...

      Their other services are also just worthless: Cloud file sharing that barely works, rebranded Mullvad VPN service, etc...

      1. LenG

        Re: Choice of browser

        This is unfortunately true. I stopped using firefox some time ago and shifted to PaleMoon which was forked from the mozilla codebase some time ago but with a lot of the crud cleared out. It adheres to a more traditional appearance (or at least can be configured to do so) . It glitches occasionally but I put that down to my bad habit of generally having 100+ open pages.

  7. keithpeter Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Opt in or opt out?

    https://seirdy.one/2021/04/16/permissions-policy-floc-misinfo.html

    https://paramdeo.com/blog/opting-your-website-out-of-googles-floc-network

    Which one of these pages is correct? What can shared host Web site owners do to make sure their pages are not used in FLoC calculations?

    Reference: Lex Fridman's podcast #135. Long but good, and analytics that allow clustering of people also allow surprisingly accurate prediction of future behaviour...

  8. iron Silver badge

    > The industry understands the jobs to be done and the time is running out.

    The industry understands nothing and the more they tighten their grip, the more users will slip though their fingers.

    Instead of spending big bucks trying to circumvent the privacy protections provided by Apple, Firefox and others they should go back to serving adverts based on the content of the site where they appear. If I'm reading an IT site then I'm probably interested in IT, if I'm reading a review of washing machines then I'm probably looking to buy a washing machine, etc. Content based advertising requires no privacy breaching schennanigans and actually provides relevant ads to the user's interest unlike the status quo that more often shows you ads for things you just bought (or so I hear, I haven't actually seen an advert in years thanks to the industry's own shitty practices).

    1. LDS Silver badge

      I think that's exactly "and updated contextual targeting and probabilistic audience modeling (analytics that incorporate an array of unknown elements)" McKinsey was referring to.

      Of course they are afraid of those "array of unknown elements" as they believe the actual system returns them full insight into their audience - as if there aren't a lot of frauds running (remember the company promoting sharing your internet connection to allow - among other unethical uses - "marketing" firms bypassing fraud checks?).

      Actually, "contextual targeting and probabilistic audience modeling" could yield them better results and be more fraud-resistant - just they need to forget the lame idea they could track each user everywhere.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Yes, but it's in their interests for the companies that buy advertising to not know that.

        The size of Google means their tracking analytics are the best. If companies realise tracking is no use, suddenly Google loses its biggest draw.

    2. Adelio Silver badge

      But as far as i am concerned they should not KNOW who i am or what other sites or things i look at outside of the site.

      So google should not know about anything outside of doing a google search

  9. Detective Emil
    WTF?

    "… allies … like Criteo, NextRoll, Magnite, and RTB House"

    I've never heard of these outfits and will do all I can to prevent them from hearing much of me.

  10. Shadow Systems

    "Cluster Floc"...

    Pretty much sums up the entire ad industry. =-)p

  11. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    John Wannamaker

    Attributed to John Wannamaker is the observation that 50% of all advertising spending is wasted but the problem is which 50% is wasted. Advertising by its nature is hit or miss. Targeted ads based on search history or to some extent purchases lack context of the search or purchase. So why was I searching for X? Was it genuine need or interest in purchase? Curiosity? Gift? The answers depend on how much I have in a given product and thus how much attention I might pay to a specific ad.

    1. D. Evans

      Re: John Wannamaker

      https://www.mediavillage.com/article/which-half-of-my-advertising-is-wasted-and-it-is-only-half/ but Lord Leverhulme was probably the first to say it.

      But it's so obvious I'm sure it was being said in the boardrooms of the 1800s. Should the money be spent on direct mailing, advertisements in newspapers, posters,, etc. and how do you know you're getting any traction?

      Like many, seeing the same ads for second class versions of the item I purchased 2 weeks ago does not endear me the site serving the ads or the brand being displayed.

      I hope for an online ad implosion.

    2. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

      Re: John Wannamaker

      One of my more common specific product searches is when someone in a forum I read and comment on regularly has a problem, but hasn't given the specs of the device causing the problem. So I look it up to see if I can find any clues to what is going wrong. No intent to buy the item or anything like it.

  12. Charles 9 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    RIP Privacy. Get Over It.

    Why don't we just admit that privacy is no longer a serious thing in today's society?

    Everyone wants to know about everyone else because knowledge of you represents power over you, and in an increasingly overcrowded, cut-throat world like ours, it's rapidly becoming dog-eat-dog. If you don't do it, someone else will and then use it to run you into the ground.

    Hell, with camera and real-world tracking, and anti-anti-tracing tech constantly improving, we may soon see the world of Transmetropolitan where cameras and other tracking devices are so ubiquitous you won't be able to walk out the front door without everyone knowing about it (and being able to realize it's you and not a fake). Soon, it'll be a world where there's no real expectation of privacy...anywhere.

    Don't Trust Anyone...Not Even Yourself...

  13. JWLong Bronze badge

    It's just GIGO

    My HOST file is over 330K bytes. Literally thousands of AD servers blocked, almost 900 Facebook IP address block, Google, LinkedIn, Tweeter, Microsoft, all blocked.

    I haven't seen an ad on a web page in years. Yet, when I make a request to a site (like TheReg) for the IP address of the ad servers they use I get no response back.

    I can only guess that they either don't give a shit (probably so!), don't know, or are so micromanaged that the staff can't reply to my request.

    If sites don't get revenue from my visits, it's not my fault. The ad industry needs to be shit canned, cleaned out, rethought, and most of all made responsible for the crap they push. Think of it like this, where do you think all the Enron employees went when it got shut down - they're managing advertising accounts now because they couldn't get a job any place else but in a sleaze bag industry like ad pumping.

    FLoC'em ALL!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: It's just GIGO

      Think about it. Where would they go from there, then? They'll just find someplace else to taint. We just can't have nice things...

      1. max allan

        Re: It's just GIGO

        You may have nice things. But you need to pay for them. Would you rather pay with money or ads?

        1. CrackedNoggin

          Re: It's just GIGO

          Money. E.g., Search will never improve until the user is the customer and not the product.

          And don't forget, some share of the public will always opt-in. Their choice.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: It's just GIGO

            And by doing so they'll take the rest of us with them.

            Which is why I say you have to fix stupid...or the above will happen.

    2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: It's just GIGO

      To be honest, the biggest issue isn't seeing the ads (ad-blockers, hosts files, etc all do a decent job with that). The problem is my privacy. No supplier is entitled to know anything about me.

      One real issue, which is just as real with FLOC as with traditional tracking, is that I do not want potential suppliers to be able to set the price (or even the selection of offers they make) to be dependent on knowing who I am, what my preferences are, or how wealthy I am.

      Here in the UK, a clothing group (Boohoo I think) were recently caught out selling the exact same clothes in 2 or 3 of their different branded chains at very different prices. So, the same coat, for example might be £30 on one of their brands' websites, £50 on another and £70 on another. When caught out, they walked back very quickly and claimed it was all a mistake! But, obviously, if they have 3 different sites which attract customers who are more or less wealthy they will set prices in line with willingness to pay.

      I am not willing to do business with companies who price identical offers or services based on my willingness to pay. Or even who decide which offers they will let me see based on my willingness to pay (I might choose their expensive personal service, or I might choose their their low-cost no-frills service -- but I want to make sure I see both offers and decide, not let them decide for me).

  14. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    Whack a mole

    Plug one hole, another springs open. I feel sorry for the little Dutch Boy.... He's running out of digits!

  15. Jonjonz

    FLoC IDs are nothing more than a ratty classification system. Visit the wrong websites in the wrong order and you could get tossed into an ID group of untouchables. No doubt the chocolate factory is just rebranding what CCP has been doing for years.

  16. marcellothearcane

    Off the top of my head, here's a few issues I have with this:

    1. Lack of transparency - I bet most people that don't read tech sites like this one don't even know about it. Nobody knows how it works, or how to turn it off, yet it is in the wild for ~0.25% web users.

    2. Who decides which website are classified what way? Website classification based on its URL is hard.

    3. Can people remove websites from their 'history'?

    4. What about changing interests, or curious people? Will sites 'expire' from your interests?

    5. This is all tied to Google, and they're trying to make it a web standard - what happens if they drop it like they are wont to do with things?

    Anonymity is a distant dream unfortunately, given how effective browser fingerprinting is. This is just another datapoint to add to the mix.

  17. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Happy

    How does El Reg feel about this?

    A while back I posted on a NAS community support page that I was having a problem with a NAS. Since then I see an Ad at the bottom of all El Reg storied that says "Sponsored: Protect and recover your NAS and unstructured data" - No, I'm not upset about this because it might just be a coincidence and if it's not then this is just the way things go and hopefully El Reg is getting a little payment every time I visit.

    1. Adelio Silver badge

      Re: How does El Reg feel about this?

      try installing ublock origin, cleans up el-reg nicely

  18. StrangerHereMyself Bronze badge

    Alternative

    I find it cynical that people are criticizing Google's effort to get rid of targeted advertising. I find the targeting of users as groups a viable solution that keeps both the advertisers and the users happy. It gives users at least SOME degree of privacy.

    Targeted advertising isn't going to go away if this proposal gets ditched. Google will then simply continue targeting individual users. Don't think for a minute they'll stop targeted advertising just because FloC is thrown in front of the bus.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Alternative

      Unless the REAL real goal is to continue to have individualized profiles under the guise of plausible deniability.

      A FALSE sense of privacy is worse than no expectation of privacy at all...

  19. max allan

    Don't forget the rest of the world

    Outside the world of geeks who care about their data, I bet most people couldn't care less about this "problem". And I suspect very few people are in the "care" category.

    The real world has accepted their personal data will be bought and sold, and they have moved on.

    Why is it that some people seem to be such luddites about this issue and are holding on to a world that no longer exists, rather than figuring out how to live in the one being made. Arguing about floc and ad blockers and "privacy" is like arguing about your engined car not having anywhere to store a haybale for long journeys.

    1. CrackedNoggin

      Re: Don't forget the rest of the world

      "" I bet most people couldn't care less about this "problem". ""

      Make it opt-in then.

    2. Spiz

      Re: Don't forget the rest of the world

      Your apathy about the issue shouldn't mean that I have to suffer.

      Your post is the equivalent of "I don't wear a mask because I'm not bothered about catching (and spreading) COVID".

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Don't forget the rest of the world

        Problem is, at some point, things go beyond your control, at which point the best you can do is try to mitigate things as best as possible. If you're going to live in a society where people WANT the virus AND will cough in your face for kicks because they're anarchists, your options are limited.

  20. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Google's Privacy Sandbox

    Specifically tailored to put my privacy in Google's sandbox so it can continue to play with it.

    I am not amused.

    This whole hoopla is because targetted ads are an invasion of privacy, privacy concerns are on the rise, so Google, being the most interested party and having made all of its billions on targetted advertising, is desperate to find a way to continue to milk that particular cow.

    GDPR is going to be our primary defense in this matter, but Google will certainly do its level best to find a way - any way - to keep the targetted ad revenue flowing, which means to keep invading our privacy.

    My solution is to use Chrome only when I have to access a Google app, be it Maps, GMail or Translator. If I'm already on a Google site, I might as well use a Google product. The rest of my browsing is done with Firefox using NoScript and uBlock Origin, and you can bet your bottom dollar that neither Google nor FaceBook are authorized there.

  21. Meeker Morgan

    The arms race continues

    Duck Duck Go has a privacy extension for Chrome and they have announced they will be adding the capability to block this. And I'm sure they are not the only one.

    Perhaps Chrome will have a user preference to turn it off (not unlike 3rd party cookies)?

    Meanwhile, the EFF has anticipated the arms race ==>> https://amifloced.org/

    (Am I FLoCed? test page)

  22. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Why FLOC?

    Based on "...FLoC's requirement that Chrome users be signed-in to their Google Accounts," why would any user voluntarily do this?

    "Sign in to get targeted advertising"

    "Sign in so we can really, really track everything you do as a user"

    "Sign in so any possibility of browser privacy on this machine is completely compromised"

    The current cookie system is broken, allowing Google the opportunity to replace it with, what seems to me, a fully integrated tracking system for advertisers both under the control and for the profit of Google, would seem niave at the least.

  23. Blackjack Silver badge

    As several studies and DuckDuckGo says, Ads that show WHAT PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR work better that personalized ads.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021