TMW #173 | What’s the problem with cookies anyway?

May 5, 2024

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What’s the problem with cookies anyway?  

Surprise! Google delays third-party cookie deprecation again! 

I hate to say I told you so. But I told you so. Sorry. 

Back in February in TMW #162, I mentioned that when it comes to third-party cookie deprecation, we’re not out of the woods yet. Far from it. 

In that essay, I argued that the UK Competition and Markets Authority, the IAB’s criticisms against third-party cookie deprecation, and Google’s alternative solution in the Privacy Sandbox would lead to a delay of third-party cookie deprecation. 

And here we are. 

Last week, Google announced with the CMA that they will be delaying the roll out of third-party cookie deprecation until 2025. It’s their third delay after deprecating 1% of devices at the start of the year, and at this rate, Google will be 3 years late to completing what they set out to complete by 2022 when they announced cookie deprecation way back in 2020.  

As the memes pour in, one thing is for certain: Google will be delaying third-party cookie deprecation until the heat death of the universe…. 


Turns out deleting third-party cookies is something that’s not easily done. But I’m not here to criticize Google’s failings in managing this transition. Far from it. I want to ask you a question. 

What’s the big deal about third-party cookies anyway? The logic behind the technology’s planned obsolescence is incomplete, and in my view, the reason they have to go away is because of monopolistic platforms like Google, which has all but controlled what should be an open and distributed technology.

This has very little to do with the actual tech and everything to do with Google.  

So here’s my big bet. Third-party cookies won’t go away any time soon, and Google will not deprecate them. We should look at redeeming third-party cookies instead. Here’s how.

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