As Google moves forward with its solution to replace third-party cookies in Chrome, other Chromium-based browsers are refusing to use it. This is the case of browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Brave and Opera, which do not think of adopting the FLoC system (Federated Learning of Cohorts) at first.
Presented by Google earlier this year, FLoC gathers information from users with common interests and groups them into large segments. This happens through an algorithm that examines your browser history and identifies other users with similar browsing profiles. The groups formed, in turn, are offered to companies to target advertisements.
Chromium-based browsers will not use FLoC for now
Despite being a less invasive method than cookies, FLoC has also been raising concerns related to users’ privacy. One of the signs that things are not so simple is the hesitation that other browsers are showing in relation to the system.
In theory, FLoC is available for any Chromium-based browser. However, it seems that none of them are interested in this solution at the moment.
Brave told The Verge that “FLoC significantly impairs user privacy under the guise of being pro-privacy”. Vivaldi said that the system “does not protect privacy and it is certainly not beneficial for users to unwittingly donate their privacy for Google’s profit”.
Opera also explained that it supports the end of third-party cookies and is, together with other browsers, discussing new alternatives, but that “it has no current plans to enable features like this in its current form”.
In a long and unambiguous response, Microsoft told The Verge that “it believes in a future where the web can provide people with privacy, transparency and control, while supporting responsible business models to create a vibrant, open ecosystem. and diverse ”. Okay, but what about FLoC?
Apparently Edge is not yet to adopt the system. Microsoft appears to be exploring other proposals based on technologies that do not require individual user IDs, and that are based on consent.
Even the DuckDuckGo search engine claims to have already created a browser extension to block FLoC. The service is highly critical of Google when it comes to privacy – it recently took a stand against the amount of data Chrome collects on iOS.
Firefox also does not intend to adopt the Google solution
Leaving the Chromium ecosystem, we have information that Firefox is also evaluating proposals related to advertising, including FLoC, but that it does not plan to adopt any of them at the moment. For Mozilla, “advertising and privacy can coexist” – even though, apparently, no one has found the best solution for this. It’s all about a “journey”, as Microsoft summed it up.
What about advertisers?
Of course, there is still a lot of water to go under that bridge, especially since advertisers are not at all happy with the end of cookies – even more without a clear future of what it will be like when (and if) Google’s (or Apple’s) proposal , or Microsoft) is widely accepted. Remember that many browsers are already blocking third-party cookies – for Chrome, this should happen completely by 2022.
Recently, a group of advertising companies proposed an alternative system to FLoC, called SWAN. It works in a different and simpler way: when the user visits a website covered by the tool, he receives a request to authorize (or not) the display of ads by the companies that are part of the network. The main obstacle is to depend on the user’s proactivity in authorizing ads.
Given this scenario, one thing is almost certain: FLoC seems to have more chances, because even alone, Google is … Well, Google. But there is still a lot to be seen and reviewed by the main players in the sector. We can expect good clashes in the coming months (and years) in search of a more secure and free web.
With information: The Verge