An investigation into Google’s proposals to remove third-party cookies and other functions from its Chrome browser will be investigated by the competition watchdog of the United Kingdom. The decision to probe the proposed changes were initiated after concerns were raised in different quarters that the new changes implemented by Google could result in curbing digital advertising by rivals.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that the prove will target to make an assessment of whether Google’s proposed changes to Chrome could result in contraction of advertising spend on the ecosystem of Alphabet’s Google and put at disadvantage the company’s competitors.
The technology which Google calls the ‘Privacy Sandbox’ project will give the option to people to receive relevant ads which will help to sustain the current advertising model without the need for the company to track the users of Chrome at the individual user level, Google has said.
“As the CMA found in its recent market study, Google’s Privacy Sandbox proposals will potentially have a very significant impact on publishers like newspapers, and the digital advertising market,” CMA Chief Executive Officer Andrea Coscelli said.
Complaints from Marketers for an Open Web (MOW), a coalition of technology and publishing companies, had been received by it the CMA said. The complaint alleged that Google is “abusing its dominant position” through the proposals.
Third-party cookies have already been blocked by other web browsers such as Mozilla and Apple Inc’s Safari.
A Google spokeswoman said that there is requirement for the industry to bring in major changes to the manner in which digital advertising functions if one wants to create a more private web while at the same time empowering the publishers and advertisers who support the free and open internet.
“We welcome the CMA’s involvement as we work to develop new proposals to underpin a healthy, ad-supported web without third-party cookies.”
The UK regulator said that a crucial role in targeted digital advertising is played by the so called third party cookies. These cookies help advertisers to effectively and accurately target selected audiences as well as fund free online content for consumers, such as newspapers.
The regulators however also said that the current system also present concerns on privacy as these third party cookies allow tracking of behaviour of consumers all across the web in different ways that causes a makes many consumers to feel uncomfortable and ways that such customer may find difficult to understand.
It will work with Britain’s data watchdog on the investigation, the CMA said.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)