Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts – or FLoC – is a transition the company is making to move away from third-party cookies in its browser and towards an approach that groups individuals together based on different interest groups for advertising as opposed to targeting them specifically. Upon being introduced, it was immediately faced with backlash on several fronts. Now, the company is doing a double-take and will slow its roll (out) by splitting the implementation of FLoC into two phases.
This week, Google released an updated timeline for the initiative which can be found at privacysandbox.com/timeline. This new website will remain up to date each month as discussions around what the future of FLoC will look like. After meeting with several major advertising partners, like RTB House, it was decided that it would be adopted and begin implementation – stage 1 – by Q3 of next year, 2022, with ongoing discussion through the end of the year, and a stage 2 transition period running all the way through Q3 of 2023.
What does this all mean, exactly? It means that Google has faced plenty of opposition by even introducing FLoC as many believe it puts the company in a dominant advertising position and strips publishers of their power to compete, and has decided that it will only succeed moving forward with care. As RTB House’s Director of Global Inventory, Lukasz Wlodarczyk stated on Monday, and I think he hit the nail on the head:
We expect that in the near future Google Chrome will be presenting a new, more privacy-preserving iteration of FLoC. This new version is expected to address both private and public feedback Google received from multiple sources, such as an extensive Privacy analysis of FLoC from Mozilla.Lukasz Wlodarczyk – Director of Global Inventory, RTB House
For users, this all means that by late 2023, Google will have completely phased out third-party cookies in Chrome, and individual-based ad targeting will be a thing of the past. While this has its benefits for you and me, it’s also potentially a detriment to those trying to make a living with an online business, so there is some balance that needs to be had as the internet and its culture progress over the next few years.