The advertising giant is now rolling out its Federated Learning of Cohorts system to developers, part of its Privacy Sandbox that Google hopes to use in place of third party cookies, TechCrunch reports.
Why it matters
It’s really happening, and developers at least will be getting to grips with a new technique that groups users into cohorts based on similar interests. It is against this cohort – rather than to an individual-level identifier – that ads will run, meaning that personal browsing data remains on the device. Google calls it “interest-based advertising”.
Developers in the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and the Philippines will be first to access the system.
In the European Union, where the data protection regulation GDPR is in force, the company is biding its time while it works out what the law means for this new system.
According to Google’s own tests, FLoCs are very effective, but behind that effectiveness is a giant company whose market share in digital advertising is already extremely high and regulators around the world have pointed out that Google’s post-cookie plans could strengthen its position even further.
It is part of a scramble to replace the cookie for which Google, along with Apple, fired the starting gun.
The process is just beginning. Jack Shearring, MD at LEAD Digital Consulting, points out in a recent WARC Exclusive that Google’s power means there are yet hurdles, so the best thing marketers can do now is to assess what data they have, what processes rely on cookies, and understand the market.