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Google starts testing its replacement for third-party cookies

Jon Fingas
Associate Editor
BRAZIL - 2020/03/28: In this photo illustration the Google Chrome logo is displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Google has taken one step closer to banishing third-party cookies from Chrome. The internet giant has started testing its trust tokens with developers, with promises that more would move to live tests “soon.” As before, the company hoped to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome once it could meet the needs of both users and advertisers.

Trust tokens are meant to foster user trust across sites without relying on persistent identifying data like third-party cookies. They theoretically prevent bot-based ad fraud without tying data to individuals. This would be one framework as part of a larger Privacy Sandbox including multiple open standards.

The company still hopes to eliminate third-party cookies by 2022.

The testing comes right as Google is improving the transparency of ads. It’s introducing an “About this ad” feature that shows the verified names of advertisers. It’ll initially be available only for ads bought through Google Ads and Display & Video 360, but it should expand elsewhere in 2021. Google has vowed to curb ad misinformation on its sites, and proving the authenticity of some ads might help.