Google’s Chrome browser could come with new and improved privacy settings as it could limit the use of tracking cookies, according to a report in Wall Street Journal. The new features could be announced at Google’s I/O developer conference, which takes place tonight at Mountain View, California.
The report on WSJ points out that Google could add a dashboard-like function in the Chrome browser and would restrict the use of tracking cookies used by third-parties to keep a watch on user’s browsing habits.
Cookies are small text files that follow users on the internet and collect browsing habits, which advertisers can then use to target consumers based on the information collected. Cookies give an insight into a user’s specifics interest, but in light of the recent privacy debates, the uses of such tools is being criticised.
Google has been working on this plan for the Chrome browser for at least six years, according to WSJ, though “work accelerated in the past year” after the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal came to light in 2018. The report also notes the project was delayed due to technological complexities.
As pointed, Google’s new privacy approach for Chrome is not about limiting its own data collection, but rather will impact other third-party rivals. The new dashboard will give Chrome users “more information about what cookies are tracking them and offer options to fend them off,” according to the report.
Google’s approach won’t completely do away with cookies entirely. In contrast, Apple’s Safari browser, which is present on iOS and macOS devices, comes with option to prevent “Prevent cross-site tracking” via cookies and users can completely turn off this kind of tracking. Safari gives users the option to block all cookies.
The option is also there on iOS version of Safari. In fact, Safari now also asks users for permission before loading share buttons from social networks like Facebook, which are present on all almost all sites and used to track users.
Mozilla’s Firefox also gives users the option of complete privacy when it comes to cookies and users can turn off data tracking from the browser’s settings. But given Chrome’s domination of the browser market, a pivot towards privacy would certainly benefit more users.
Google I/O 2019 keynote will start at 10.30 pm IST and is taking place at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. The new Pixel 3a phones are also expected at the event.