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Google Concludes FLoC Origin Trial, Does Not Intend to Share Feedback from Participants

Posted by WP Tavern on July 15, 2021 at 8:26 pm
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Google quietly concluded its FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) origin trial this week. The trial was part of Google’s Privacy Sandbox initiative, a suite of new technologies designed to replace third-party cookies, fingerprinting, and other commonly-used tracking mechanisms. This particular experiment groups people together based on browsing habits and labels them using machine learning. FLoC’s trial was scheduled to end Jul 13, 2021, and Google has decided to remove the project from the testing phase while analyzing feedback. “We’ve decided not to extend this initial Origin Trial,” Google senior software engineer Josh Karlin said in thread on Chromium’s Blink Developers group forum. “Instead, we’re hard at work on improving FLoC to incorporate the feedback we’ve heard from the community before advancing to further ecosystem testing.” The controversial experiment has been met with opposition from privacy advocates like makers of the Brave browser and EFF who do not perceive FLoC to be a compelling alternative to the surveillance business model currently used by the advertising industry. Amazon, GitHub, Firefox, Vivaldi, Drupal, Joomla, DuckDuckGo, and other major tech companies and open source projects have already opted to block FLoC by default. So far, Twitter has been the first major online platform that…

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