Google Delays Third-Party Cookies Over Antitrust Concerns, Again

Google again postponed deprecation of the third-party tracking cookie, this time until the second half of 2024. While Apple blocked third-party cookies several years ago, Google has postponed the process for the Chrome browser numerous times as it works with digital advertisers and technology vendors to agree on a replacement for anonymized audience tracking it calls the Privacy Sandbox.

Google is likely to be sued by the US Department of Justice in September on the grounds that its advertising network is a monopoly. What that means for marketers isn’t yet clear, but there are steps they can take to prepare for disruptions.

EU antitrust authorities have kept watch on how Google handles third-party cookie deprecation and display advertising practices for more than a year, voicing concerns that Google’s ad network may control too much of the European market.

Google’s cookie delays and the impending DoJ antitrust suit likely are unconnected, even though they happened close together, said Liz Miller, Constellation Research analyst. Google is caught in a riptide between two factions of government regulators: Those who want to protect consumer privacy, and those who want to level the playing field for small and midsize businesses that have been priced out of search engine exposure.

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