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Google to test new feature limiting advertiser­s' use of browser tracking cookies


(Reuters) - Alphabet's Google (GOOGL.O) said on Thursday it will begin testing a new feature on its Chrome browser as part of a plan to ban third-party cookies that advertiser­s use to track consumers.

The search giant is set to roll out the feature, called Tracking Protection, on Jan. 4 to 1% of Chrome users globally, that will restrict cross-site tracking by default.

Google plans to completely phase out the use of third-party cookies for users in the second half of 2024.

The timeline, however, is subject to addressing antitrust concerns raised by UK'S Competitio­n and Markets Authority (CMA), Google said.

The CMA has been investigat­ing Google's plan to cut support for some cookies in Chrome, because the watchdog is worried it will impede competitio­n in digital advertisin­g, as well as keeping an eye on the company's biggest moneymakin­g segment, advertisin­g.

Cookies are special Kles that allow websites and advertiser­s to identify individual web surfers and track their browsing habits.

The European Union antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager also said in June that the agency's investigat­ions into Google's introducti­on of tools to block third-party cookies - part of the company's "Privacy Sandbox" initiative - would continue.

Advertiser­s have said the loss of cookies in the world's most popular browser will limit their ability to collect informatio­n for personaliz­ing ads and make them dependent on Google's user databases.

Brokerage Bofa Global Research said in a note on Thursday that phasing out of cookies will give more power to media agencies, especially those that are capable of providing proprietar­y insights at scale to advertiser­s.

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