Google announced that it is replacing its controversial FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) project with Topics, a new alternative to third-party cookies used for ad targeting.
FLoC was previously supposed to become a replacement for cookies, but after a lot of criticism, the tech giant decided to develop a new solution. Google acknowledged that FloC did not do much to protect user privacy, and it was difficult for people to understand or control how their data was collected and used by this technology.
With Topics, the new concept will assign users five interests per week based on their web activity. These interests will be stored for up to three weeks. To do this, Google created a list of about 350 topics available in its advertising taxonomy, with the company planning to add even more of them in the future. The tech giant notes that it will not include sensitive topics like gender and race.
The service will then select one topic per week and share it with advertising partners and sites. For example, if a user has visited a lot of sports sites, the browser will consider this topic as the main topic of the week and will show users sports equipment ads.
The company noted that this ad information collection method is more private than cookies, and that users will be able to view and delete their topics from the list or turn them off altogether.
In March 2021, Google announced that it would stop using third-party cookies and created FloC technology to replace them. However, in June 2021, Google postponed blocking cookies in Chrome until 2023 due to the need to develop new technology as an alternative to cookies.