back to article Google to start third-party cookie cull for 30 million Chrome users

From today there will be a great disturbance in Chrome – as if millions of browser cookies suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. On Thursday, Google is expected to begin publicly testing a version of its web browser that by default cuts out third-party cookies – bits of data deposited in the browsers of …

  1. MajorDoubt

    Only stupid people use google crome

    worst offender of privacy, google

    1. Rich 2 Silver badge

      Re: Only stupid people use google crome

      I can only assume you’re being voted down by people that use chrome. It utterly baffles me when anyone uses the spyware (especially supposedly knowledgable people that read the Reg)

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Only stupid people use google crome

        MajorDoubt gets an upvote from me for that comment, although while Google is making money from peoples privacy via Chrome, I think that there are even worse apps and situations. Compare what you browse for, to the junk emails that you receive, to help get you some clues.

        Using a browser to visit a website is two independent risks.

      2. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Only stupid people use google crome

        Sometimes you don't have a choice. It might be the only browser your workplace allows, maybe there's some specific site you need to go to that only works with Chrome (yes, sadly, we're back to that shit again) or some other similar sort of situation.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Only stupid people use google crome

          "It might be the only browser your workplace allows, maybe there's some specific site you need to go to that only works with Chrome (yes, sadly, we're back to that shit again) or some other similar sort of situation."

          If your workplace only allows Chrome, don't do anything personal on a work machine.

          I have yet to come across a web site that only works with Chrome, but if I did, that company wouldn't have any chance of getting my business/view/etc. I do often find sites that don't work with TOR or behave very badly when using it. That's tells me a bunch about the site. Except for fairly benign searches, I do the vast majority of searching using TOR and DDG. Just to stay in the realm of slightly paranoid, I very much do not want a public search history or one that can be subpoenaed.

      3. SlavickP

        Re: Only stupid people use google crome

        That assumption is incorrect. I’m not a Chrome user. I downvoted the post because labeling large group of Web users that way comes across as lazy and self-defeating

    2. Len

      Re: Only stupid people use google crome

      Agreed, if you read this far (in other words, you're reading The Register) you should not be using Chrome.

      1. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: Only stupid people use google crome

        True dat! Use MS Edge, as it's an enforced policy by your corporation.

    3. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: Only stupid people use google crome

      "it is possible to use this system in ways compliant with EU data protection law."

      Yeah. That's missing the word "only" before the word "possible". It's also possible to use Firefox, and I suggest you do.

    4. Jim Whitaker

      Re: Only stupid people use google crome

      I'm not sure that you either convince or educate people by insulting them.

  2. Rich 2 Silver badge


    Which bit of this grand plan addresses the “I don’t want anything to do with your ad network and I definitely don’t want your ads stored on my laptop and I don’t want to waste my processor cycles on serving me a load of crap I don’t want” issue?

    As an aside, if a website brings in (say) some crap from googly analytics and THAT sets a cookie, is that considered a 3rd party cookie? Or (as the web page specifically linked to googlies) is it a 1st (2nd?) party cookie?

    1. Len

      Re: So….

      I suspect the reason that Google is happy to cut off some data gathering exercises by third parties is that they obviously won't be cutting off their own data gathering exercises that are hardcoded into Chrome.

      1. CatWithChainsaw

        Re: So….

        And I bet they're not too put out by the thought of selling data to companies that will continue to pay for targeted advertising as well.

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    And his assessment of Protected Audience, formerly known as FLEDGE, is that "it is possible to use this system in ways compliant with EU data protection law."

    Yes, by turning it off?

    You can twist it all you want. Just because "auction" runs on client device, not only means client's resources are being misused, but also you can still extract private information by setting bids high enough for given interests and then checking who "won".

    Do they really think people are that stupid?

    1. Rich 2 Silver badge

      Re: Armchair

      Actually that raises an excellent point.

      Does this plan constitute “computer misuse” in terms of that law? For example, what’s the difference between this and some virus that’s mining Bitcoin in the background? Neither is of any use whatsoever to the user

      1. Tubz Silver badge

        Re: Armchair

        Thats why they have to ask for consent. Google also benefits from costs savings, when resource usage is taken off their ad servers and on to client side device.

    2. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Re: Armchair

      "Do they really think people are that stupid?"

      Yes, they do. And unfortunately, most of them probably are. Although "ignorant" is probably a better word – when I explain this sort of thing to people, they're usually horrified and ask me how I can make it go away. I just tell them to use Firefox.

    3. Alumoi Silver badge

      Re: Armchair

      Do they really think people are that stupid?

      Ahem. People keep voting for the same politicians, keep buying overpriced crap cause it's Apple (insert favourite maga-corp here), use the so called social media, watch Disney movies....

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: Armchair

        "People...keep buying overpriced crap cause it's Apple (insert favourite maga-corp here),"

        I use an iPhone. Not because it's Apple, but because it isn't Google. What's your excuse for using Android - the extra privacy?

        "watch Disney movies...."

        Sturgeon's Law applies with all movies. Disney has good movies and bad movies.

  4. Matt Collins

    This user likes bikes

    Publishers (or the sections or pages within) have topics and ad servers should select ads based on the context of the site, not the browsing history of their users.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: This user likes bikes


      1. Matt Collins

        Re: This user likes bikes

        Totally. The kids holding the guy's pocket... seems sort of relevant to the way we're treated by ad slingers

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Protected Audience scripts might run

    Or then again, they might not... NoScript remains your friend.

    Because if gurgle thinks I'm suddenly going to change my mind about allowing random scripts from random places to run in my browser, it's got another think coming.

    1. Ramis101

      Re: Protected Audience scripts might run


      I couldn't give two hoots about cookies, 3rd party or otherwise. They are easily cleanable.

      What pisses me off is 3rd Party Javascript.

      Not using NoScript to me would be like strolling out the front door stark naked.

  6. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Cui bono

    audience information and remarketing ads are stored on the device

    So I can charge them for hosting their advertising?

  7. Spanners Silver badge

    If I can stay in no groups?

    Will that stop it downloading rubbish?

    (Whatever I have not asked for is specifically unwanted rubbish.)

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge

      Re: If I can stay in no groups?

      Well, this alone will certainly not prevent you from seeing ads — you'll need an ad blocker for that one way or another.

  8. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "Protected Audience scripts might run an in-browser ad auction"

    What could possibly go wrong?

  9. Barry Rueger

    Pointless ads

    This is all very charming, but am I alone in finding that Google, Facebook, and the rest consistently deliver ads for things that I don't want and have never considered?

    Whether it's search results or advertising, my experience is that in recent years the web giants have really lost the plot.

    1. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

      Re: Pointless ads

      "consistently deliver ads for things that I don't want and have never considered?"

      I prefer it that way. Less temptation, when it's a product category I have zero interest in.

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Pointless ads

      "This is all very charming, but am I alone in finding that Google, Facebook, and the rest consistently deliver ads for things that I don't want and have never considered?"

      I switched most of my searching to DDG on TOR since I am hugely random and actually do look things up I hear on the news to clean up what gets called "journalism" these days. You just never know when a TLA is going to target you after a search. Subsequent to the Boston Marathon bombing, the FBI was suspicious of anybody searching for a pressure cooker. I expect some people looked them up due to not knowing what they were and others were actually looking to buy one and got stuck in the 'terrorist' pile until proven innocent.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Costly endeavour

    So now I will have to pay for:

    1)A phone with more storage to fit MY stuff on because it’s all used by ads.

    2)A phone fast enough to display adds after all the bs JS completes.

    3)A mobile service fast enough so I don’t notice all the auction abuse happening and slow my page loads.

    4)A data plan with enough data so they can download and store all their adds on my phone without limiting what I want to do.

    Google can’t even realise I’m a balding man with no pets when it comes to YouTube adds (I’m looking at you hair products (inc electrical), Tampax and pet food supplies).

    No wonder the telecom companies want Big Tech to contribute to their network when it’s full of crap like this being slung around that no-one wants.

    At least with the mail system, the delivery company gets paid for delivering their spam.

    I want to know when i can start invoicing for my time, my resources and my private data being slung between them all.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the betting

    that deleting all the files connected with this nonsense will break Chrome ?

    1. Alumoi Silver badge

      Re: What's the betting

      One can only hope!

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: What's the betting

      I'm sure you can purge the advertising cache files every time Chrome creates them, but that will just cause Chrome to recreate them every time. With a 10 MB limit, it's likely those will be hideously compressed on disk to fit as much as they can in there, so expect to be downloading 10 MB per advertiser when it restarts. The good news: it will probably be different advertisers each time.

      This is a good enough reason not to use Chrome if you can't disable this, and I already had a good enough reason not to use it.

      1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        Re: What's the betting

        The data won't be a single file. I bet it is included in another file that is very inconvenient to remove.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: What's the betting

          It probably won't be as simple as rm Chrome/Profile/advertiser_files/*, but I expect it won't be intentionally obfuscated as you appear to suggest. They just don't need to do that. If someone was motivated to do that, they could do all sorts of things, for example just creating a basic profile containing their settings and, every time Chrome closes, delete the old one and substitute in the premade one. Google hasn't prevented that or even made it at all more difficult. They don't collect data by making it impossible to avoid, but by making it difficult to avoid and counting on people not bothering to do anything too complicated. The things they have gone after have been the ones that are easy for lots of users to do, for example installing an ad blocker, which can be managed by a nontechnical user who is willing to push a few buttons, and even that isn't particularly common among the general public. The reason it doesn't happen is that those of us who are willing to take more invasive measures are less likely to be running Chrome anyway, using either Firefox or a Chromium-derived alternative with some of this stuff stripped out, though not as much as would be ideal.

  12. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Cookie consent

    All most people care about is getting rid of those stupid cookie consent forms. They're a pain in the arse when you're in a hurry.

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Oh, nooo! My cookies!

    I hope Google makes a cloud backup of them before they're deleted

  14. aerogems Silver badge

    Serious question

    Is there any actual evidence to show that all this information gathering -- for the sake of argument we'll assume that it's gathered purely for the reasons claimed by marketers -- and targeting of ads has any actual improvement over the old method of simply blasting out your message to a bunch of people? Like, for example, if I run sell luggage, is there actual evidence to show that using Facebook's tools to target ads towards people who have engaged with an airline or looked up prices for flights is more effective than say just putting a general advert in say a travel magazine, or on some site where people can compare and book flights?

    1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

      Re: Serious question

      Shhh... don't tell anyone, or the ad agencies wouldn't be able to sell targeted ads to the advertisers!

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Serious question

      There's quite a lot of evidence that it's actively harmful.

      Advertising products toilets and dishwashers to someone who has just purchased one is an obvious waste of advertising budget, and "creepy" advertising create a bad association in consumer minds.

      However, Sinclair's observation applies:

      'It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.'

  15. Paul 87

    Targeted advertising will only satisfy privacy concerns when you chose your own boxes to be put into via an active mechanism.

    If you chose no boxes, then you get whatever random ads are thrown up.

    Advertisers need to agree a gold standard of categorisation for adverts so that tools can be developed by any and all companies as required.

    And to encourage people to categorise themselves (or accept infered categorisation), then offer cashback rewards in the same way as "loyalty" cards do.

  16. Aussie Doc


    Google to cull cookies?

    That takes the cake.

    I'll see myself out after a couple more of these --->.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drugs or Axolotls?

    Their linked doc (which requires accepting cookies without opt out, duh) seems to suggest that <fencedframe> limits some data transfer between embedder and embeddee. These new fangled 3rd party cookies (dubbed interest groups) are still fine to share, though?

    Reading this comic – erh, comment – you are now graciously subscribed to the interest groups on porn, pedophiles, guns, bomb-making and drugs. Depending on which of these are illegal where you live, law enforcement will be watching which IP address queries which such groups. So much easier than before!

    Is there a way to continuously unsubscribe all groups? I'd always overwrite with one, say axolotls, which will give me a steady stream of cute ads. Or stinky socks, for which we are sorry to say, no ads are on offer. Luckily I don't need to, as I'm writing on one of the last seventy three surviving installations of Firefox.

  18. SlavickP

    I wish someone has tackled the EU-mandated cookie acceptance screens.

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