In 2019, Google first announced plans to replace web browser “cookies” with what it called the Privacy Sandbox. The idea was to give online advertisers ways to target audiences when they surfed the web, but also to limit the personal data that those advertisers got to access.
Early testing of Privacy Sandbox showed some promise, according to Google, and the plan was to start phasing in that technology in 2023. That is now very close to starting, according to a new blog post from Google.
Earlier this week, the company made its Chrome 115 browser available in its Stable channel. Today, it was revealed that the Privacy Sandbox APIs would be enabled for a small percentage of people who have installed Chrome 115 beginning the week of July 24. The plan is to enable about 35 percent of Chrome 115 users with the new APIs. The blog post added:
Users need to relaunch Chrome before version updates or incremental API updates take effect, meaning it always takes additional time for the ramp up to reach the target levels. All percentages shown are approximate and developers should expect fluctuations in this period as we may adjust levels to respond to issues. Overall percentages of Chrome browsers may also not map to the same percentage of an individual site’s traffic, so you should only use this as indicative of expected traffic.
After that initial rollout, Google plans to enable the Privacy Sandbox APIs to about 60 percent of Chrome 115 users at the beginning of August. By mid-August, about 99 percent of Chrome 115 users will have the APIs up and running. That’s also when Google plans to release Chrome 116 in the Stable channel. It added:
At this point we will also merge the individual experiment groups, maintaining only small, isolated groups without every API enabled to aid with any potential issue detection. We will hold at this level to continue monitoring and begin preparation for the Chrome-facilitated testing modes.
Google has previously said it plans to eliminate all third-party browser cookies sometime in the second half of 2024.