Google has terminated its controversial FLoC implementation that used to tract users' preferences. Today's release of Chrome 101.0.4951.41 is notable for including another technology, FLEDGE.
The FLoC technology has been criticized by major browser vendors. Mozilla, Vivaldi, Brave, and other browser vendors didn't support it. Therefore, Google proposed "Topics" in early 2022 as its successor.
Here is how these work and what's wrong with them.
- FLoC: Instead of tracking individual users, FLoC generates groups of people with common interests. The problem here is that a website will get your FLoC group ID from the very first time you open it, and learn everything about your preferences and habits right away.
- Topics: It will also create groups of users that advertisers can target. But now the group is created for a single topic of interest, instead of the group of people that share common interests in case of FLoC. Topics build the groups by analyzing your browsing history. So it reveals your habbits to an advertiser anyway.
With Google Chrome 101, the search giant introduced FLEDGE.
FLEDGE in Google Chrome
FLEDGE stands for First "Locally-Executed Decision over Groups" Experiment. It does all the data analysis and the ad selection locally on the users' side. Here's how it works, according to the official description.
1. A user visits an advertiser site
2. The user's browser is asked to add an interest group
3. The user visits a site that sells ad space
4. An ad auction is run in the browser
5. The seller and participating buyers receive realtime data from trusted servers
6. The winning ad is displayed
7. The auction result is reported
8. An ad click is reported
Google is about to test it from Chrome version 101 to 104.
Feature wise, there are changes mostly for developers. A notable one is the unified CSS and other web standard compliance between Chrome, Mozilla and Apple browsers.
If you didn't yet receive Chrome 101, open its menu (Alt + F) and click on Help > About Google Chrome. This will make it download the latest version, which is also available as a standalone installer on the official website.
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