Google’s controversial move to kill the web cookie just got delayed until 2025

Google is delaying its removal of third-party cookies on Chrome — again.

The company has delayed rolling out the removal multiple times since announcing the change in January 2020. It cited industry and regulatory pushback as the “significant considerations” behind the delay in a statement Tuesday.

“We recognize that there are ongoing challenges related to reconciling divergent feedback from the industry, regulators and developers, and will continue to engage closely with the entire ecosystem,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Third-party cookies are small data files stored on a user’s device. Companies use cookies to track consumers across websites and target them with ads. They also use the tool to track whether campaigns are working effectively.

In recent years, Google joined companies like Apple and Mozilla in phasing out cookies to increase consumer privacy protections. Google developed its Privacy Sandbox, a collection of technologies to protect consumers while allowing companies to advertise successfully.

But the path to do so hasn’t been simple.

Google is dependent on ads, and companies use cookies to target consumers and evaluate whether the ads are working. As the owner of the biggest search engine, the tech giant has received backlash from companies for planning to remove the feature because of its impact on advertising.

In January, Google experimented with phasing out cookies for 1% of Chrome users, which is about 30 million people. Various adtech companies said the new technology didn’t adequately compensate for lost features from cookies.

Google has also faced regulatory complications that have prevented it from moving forward with the change. Google can’t eliminate third-party cookies in Chrome until the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is satisfied with the new technology and approves it as anticompetitive.

“It’s also critical that the CMA has sufficient time to review all evidence including results from industry tests,” a Google spokesperson said. “Which the CMA has asked market participants to provide by the end of June.”

Previously, the CMA said it was in the process of evaluating the impact of the changes, which it planned to wrap up halfway through 2024. Once it approves the Privacy Sandbox technologies, Google has to wait between 60 to 120 days before it can switch off cookies.

“We welcome Google’s announcement clarifying the timing of third-party cookie deprecation,” a CMA spokesperson told BI. “This will allow time to assess the results of industry tests and resolve remaining issues.”

Google originally said it wanted to eliminate cookies by the end of 2024. The company said it now aims to start phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome in early 2025, hinging on approval from the CMA and the UK’s privacy regulator, which is called the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The ICO will work with Google and the CMA to ensure that the end of web cookies means beneficial privacy results for web users, Stephen Almond, the executive director of regulatory risk at ICO, told BI.

“Consumers benefit when businesses meet the requirements of data protection and competition law,” Almond said.

Do you have a Google tip? Email the reporter from a non-work at aaltchek@insider.com.

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Ana Altchek