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    Google vows to stop individual user tracking


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    NEW DELHI: Alphabet Inc’s Google on Wednesday pledged to steer clear of tracking individual online activity when it begins implementing a new system for targeting advertisements without the use of so-called “cookies.”
    The internet giant’s widely used Chrome browser this month will begin testing an alternative to the tracking practice. Google believes that it could improve online privacy while still enabling advertisers to serve up relevant messages.

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    The company also stated it will not build “alternate identifiers” to track individuals as they browse across the web nor will use them in its products once third-party cookies are phased out.
    “We’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products,” Google said in a blog post.
    “Advances in aggregation, anonymization, and on-device process and other privacy-preserving technologies offer a clear path to replacing individual identifiers,” it added.
    The tech giant further cited data from Pew Research Centre that said a large majority of people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies, and many say the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits.
    “If digital advertising doesn’t evolve to address the growing concerns people have about their privacy and how their personal identity is being used, we risk the future of the free and open web. That’s why last year, Chrome announced its intent to remove support for third-party cookies,” Google said.
    Google said advances in aggregation, anonymisation, on-device processing and other privacy-preserving technologies offer a clear path to replacing individual identifiers.

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    Chrome intends to make FLoC-based cohorts available for public testing through origin trials with its next release this month, and expects to begin testing FLoC-based cohorts with advertisers in Google Ads in the second quarter.
    FLoC or Federated Learning of Cohorts proposes a new way for businesses to reach people with relevant content and ads by clustering large groups of people with similar interests. This approach effectively hides individuals “in the crowd” and uses on-device processing to keep a person’s web history private on the browser.
    Chrome also will offer the first iteration of new user controls in April and will expand on these controls in future releases, as more proposals reach the origin trial stage, and they receive more feedback from end users and the industry, it said.
    (With inputs from agencies)

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