Google announced that it has decided to abandon its plan to use the new Privacy Sandbox proposal called Topics and FLoC, eliminating third-party cookies, for a function that would allow users’ browsing habits to be categorized in a list of “Topics.” But there is much more to understand about this, which is why today’s article will try to explain the situation.
What are Topics and FLoC, and how do they affect users?
FloC stands for Federated Learning of Cohorts, and its main mission was to gather all the interests and browsing habits of users in a list of 350 “topics” or “cohorts,” that’s where Topics comes from. This list was to be stored on the devices for 3 weeks. When the user entered a page participating in the project, Topics would share with it and its advertisers a topic for each of those weeks.
Each user would have the possibility not only to see their list of cohorts, but also to decide which ones stayed and which ones were eliminated. The ultimate goal of this project was simple: not having to use browsing history to show advertisers what users like. In addition, it was intended to make ads more personalized and to be what the user wanted.
Topics and FLoC failures
However, due to the controversy that already exists and will continue to exist around third-party cookies, Topics and FLoC did not come with good credentials. To this is added that many professionals were against this categorization of tastes. From those experts in computer science and cybersecurity, to those who stand out in the social and human relations field, everyone agreed that categorizing tastes and creating a ranking of them could only increase discrimination in the digital world.
One of the worrying details was that if a “topic” did not have enough information or a large number of users, it would be absorbed by another similar and bigger one, which brings the question: aren’t all topics important regardless of numbers? Maybe, for Google, they are not, but for the people who enjoy them, they are. This leads to not only data security but also social and human issues.
Many times, Google has good ideas that are brought to a great development and which users enjoy, but in this case, the Topics and FLoC will not see a good result and will remain in the drawer of ideas that were poorly developed. For now, nothing dethrones third-party cookies, although they are still not entirely reliable. Keep in touch with our blog to read the latest news and innovations in the cybersecurity world.
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