Google is dragging its feet on killing third-party cookies yet again

Google's "G" logo
(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google's plan to eliminate third-party cookie trackers has been postponed until next year.
  • The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has raised concerns about Google's new technology, Privacy Sandbox, potentially favoring Google and disrupting competition.
  • This isn't the first time Google has postponed its cookie removal plan; it's the third delay since initially announcing the two-year timeline in January 2020.

Google's plan to get rid of third-party cookie trackers is on hold until next year.

Google has been pushing back on ditching third-party cookies several times now. This time, the search giant blames it on the industry and regulatory backlash. Google needs to get approval from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) first, making sure its new tech called Privacy Sandbox isn't messing with competition.

The company originally planned to ditch third-party cookies in Chrome by the end of this year, but now it's aiming for early 2025. But it's not set in stone yet. Google is crossing its fingers that it can strike a deal with both the CMA and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) before it can really kick things off.

The CMA, in particular, is worried about what the deprecation will mean for Google's rivals and the industry as a whole.

Google has also been catching some flak from advertisers who are sweating over the idea of losing third-party cookies on the world's favorite browser. They're concerned about what this could mean for their wallets.

The news about the delay arrives just before Google and the CMA drop their quarterly reports.

“We recognize that there are ongoing challenges related to reconciling divergent feedback from the industry, regulators and developers, and will continue to engage closely with the entire ecosystem,” Google said in a statement on its website for the Privacy Sandbox. "It's also critical that the CMA has sufficient time to review all evidence including results from industry tests, which the CMA has asked market participants to provide by the end of June."

This isn't the first time Google has hit the pause button on its original plan. Back in January 2020, the company said it would ditch third-party cookies "within two years" to make web surfing safer for everyone. But this is the third time it has delayed it.

In 2022, the CMA said that axing those third-party cookies in Google Chrome would throw the competition off balance, giving Google an unfair edge. The regulators told the company to come up with a new plan that doesn't tip the scales in its favor.

Google has been trying to play nice and meet all the CMA's demands, but truth be told, it hasn't quite managed to iron out all the wrinkles yet.

With the vague promise of a 2025 launch, there's a ton of uncertainty swirling around Google's effort to deprecate third-party cookies. And honestly, it feels like we're all just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.