The cookies crumble: how Google is changing the way we are tracked by advertisers

Online privacy: Google’s trialling of FLoC, to replace thirdparty cookies, could be a major moment for data protection’

Mary McGill

Modern tech companies commodify “the stuff of human nature”, the social psychologist Shoshana Zuboff wrote in her 2019 bestseller The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. If that’s the case, then website cookies — lines of computer code that track your behaviour online — are a big part of how they do it. Which made it all the more intriguing when Google promised earlier this year to phase out third-party cookies on its popular Chrome browser. This week it announced it was trialling an alternative system.