Google Abandons FLoC in Favor of New Topics API, a Replacement for Third-Party Cookies

Google Abandons FLoC in Favor of New Topics API, a Replacement for Third-Party Cookies

Posted by WP Tavern on January 26, 2022 at 4:27 pm
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Google is burying FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) in its sea of abandoned experiments. FLoC’s proposed mechanism for replacing third-party cookies grouped people together and labeled them using machine learning. The controversial origin trial caused a group of WordPress contributors to propose blocking it in core before it was even out of the experimental stage. In July 2021, Google concluded FLoC’s origin trial and removed the project from the testing phase while analyzing feedback. The company did not elaborate on why it dropped FLoC but had previously stated an intention not to share any feedback from the project. FLoC ran in limited markets and received overwhelmingly negative feedback from the tech industry that left Google with an uphill battle to get enough buy-in to proceed. Google was not able to get any major browsers on board and Amazon, GitHub, Firefox, Vivaldi, Drupal, Joomla, DuckDuckGo, and other major tech companies and open source projects had opted to block FLoC by default. As an alternative, Google is now proposing Topics, an interest-based advertising approach, which it says was informed by community feedback from the FLoC trials: With Topics, your browser determines a handful of topics, like “Fitness” or “Travel & Transportation,” that represent…

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