August 06, 2022 04:00 pm
FLoC is a new model from Google that offers consumers a more privacy-preserving experience with interest-based advertising. Currently, planned for release in 2023, it will eliminate the use of third-party cookies, which have been a privacy-invasive means of user tracking for several years. The concept is the case your browser will study interests as you get about the web. It will keep data for the last three weeks of your browsing history, and right now, Google limits the number of topics to 300, which it plans to expand over time.
Google points out that these topics will exclude any insightful categories like gender or race. FloC is based on federated learning and has a unique way of serving ads using information from publishers and advertisers. Despite the promise of personal space, there are severe backslashes against this technology that you should be aware of and take precautions where necessary. Unlike third-party cookies, FloC protects customers' privacy mainly by hiding individuals within the crowd. If you're a publisher or advertiser, there are several ways you can better prepare for this change.
In August 2019, Google announced that it would remove third-party cookies from the Chrome browser for three months starting in mid-2023 and ending in late 2023. This road map has left digital advertisers, publishers and Google reeling. But growing concerns from an internet-savvy public led to their demise, with Firefox and Safari already blocking third-party cookies from their browser offerings. Google is looking at several new technologies that allow targeted advertising while protecting the user's anonymity. One of these has entered and completed the origination testing phase. It's called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) and it's already facing intense scrutiny.
In January 2021, Google announced that it will begin testing its new interest-based advertising standard called Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC). FLoC is said to eventually replace the third-party cookies currently used by most websites on the Internet. FLoC will be disabled. Note that the extension must be on version 2021.4.8 or above to apply recent changes. WordPress, the world's largest CMS service provider, has announced that it will also automatically block Google's FLoC on websites.
Block FLoC ad targeting code in Chrome. FLoC stands for Federated Learning of Cohorts, a new algorithm used by Google Chrome to group users into buckets based on their interests. The extension adds a script on every page load that removes the FLoC API, so if a website tries to call that function, it will get an error. Unfortunately, this is also why the FLoC block extension requires permission for all websites.
FLoC is a compelling alternative to the surveillance business model currently used by the advertising industry. Amazon, GitHub, Firefox, Vivaldi, Drupal, Joomla, DuckDuckGo and other major tech companies and open source projects have already chosen to block FLoC by default. Google's initial efforts to introduce FLoC failed to garner broad support, which may put the brakes on the company's plan to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome by 2022. FLoC's trial was scheduled to end on July 13, 2021, and Google decided to remove the project from the testing phase while it analyzed feedback.
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