New Google technology could put an end to third-party cookies

Looking to anonymize data

In a world where customization is the watchword of the day, and cookies are the premier form of tracking user activity, Google is working on an anonymous alternative--and online advertisers are freaking out.

USA Today reported last week that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) was working on an anonymous cookie technology it was calling an AdID, which would transmit information, but would anonymize the data, changing the dynamic of the current cookie technology.

One of the staples of online advertising is tracking your users' interests, presumably to serve them the ads that make the most sense to them. Once you anonymize the data you can no longer track individuals, but only understand browsing patterns in aggregate.

And, as you can imagine, that doesn't sit well with online advertising professional groups who see the move by Google as a threat to their livelihood. An article in Ad Age suggested the proposal could turn the online ad industry on its head, forcing them to find other means of gathering data.

The Ad Age article also brought up another interesting issue. If Google creates this ID and collects the data behind it, that means Google controls the data and if that were the case, that would give Google even more information, and as we know information is power, and that's even more true on the Internet.

The idea of an anonymous third-party cookie is a good one, but should Google be the one to control it? That doesn't sound like a great idea given how much information Google already has about us.

One other issue to consider is that Chrome has quickly grown into one of the more popular browsers. Google owns Chrome and if it changes the way advertisers collect and process data, it could have a huge impact on the balance of power on the Internet. 

Sounds great on principle, but what if Google's in charge? That might be another matter.

For more information:
- see the USA Today article

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