Google pushes FLoC testing back to Q1 2022

Google pushes FLoC testing back to Q1 2022

Google’s monthly update of the Privacy Sandbox Privacy Timeline indicates that the company will push FLoC testing back from Q4 2021 (announced in July) to Q1 2022. Testing FLEDGE, the company’s remarketing solution designed, so that third parties cannot track user behavior across sites is also delayed until Q1 2022.

Google pushes FLoC testing back to Q1 2022
Privacy Sandbox timeline from October 1, 2021.

The “discussion period”, which was originally scheduled to end in Q3 2021, where “technologies and their prototypes are discussed in forums such as GitHub or W3C groups”, has been extended to the end of 4. quarter 2021. This also affects when the test is judged to end, pushing it back from the end of 2. quarter to the end of 3. quarter 2022.

In addition, testing of the APIs that fall into the “target digital ads” category has also been delayed until Q1 2022.

Why we do not care

These changes may affect when Chrome will discontinue support for third-party cookies. Google has removed the “Ready for adoption” phase from the FLoC and FLEDGE parts of the timeline, and another delay may mean a shorter test period, or Google will have to push back the planned Phase 1 period (the green column in the table above, is expected to last from Q4 2022 to the end of Q2 2023). At some point in Phase 1, the company announces a new timeline that lowers third-party cookies “Time to Live”.

More about the Privacy Sandbox timeline

The timeline divides initiatives into four categories (“Fight Spam and Fraud on the Internet”, “Show Relevant Content and Ads”, “Target Digital Ads” and “Strengthen Cross-Site Privacy Limits”). APIs displayed on the timeline are based on Google’s current expectations and are subject to change. The timeline is updated monthly. The phases indicated on the timeline are as follows:

  • Discussion – The technologies and their prototypes are discussed in forums such as GitHub or W3C groups.
  • Testing – All technologies for use are available for developers to test and can be refined based on results.
  • Ready for adoption – Once the development process is complete, the successful technologies are ready to be used on a large scale. They will be launched in Chrome and ready to scale on the web.
  • Transition period: Phase 1 – APIs for each use case are available for adoption. Chrome will closely monitor adoption and feedback before moving on to the next step.
  • Transition period: Phase 2 Chrome will phase out support for third-party cookies over a three-month period ending in late 2023.

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About the author

George Nguyen is the editor of Search Engine Land, which covers organic search, podcasting and e-commerce. His background is in journalism and content marketing. Before entering the industry, he worked as a radio personality, author, podcast host and elementary school teacher.

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