By Jim Edwards, Jan. 4, 2024, PressGazette

Today (4 January 2024) Google will switch off third-party cookies in 1% of all Chrome browsers, its first step in getting rid of them all. The move will be “a key milestone in our … initiative to phase out third-party cookies for everyone,” the company said.

For many news publishers — especially those without paywalls — the end of cookies will be one more in a long series of blows to the provision of free news for all, funded by advertising. Apple took away the ability to track users with cookies from the Safari browser years ago — making roughly half of all UK users largely unidentifiable for advertisers.

When Chrome’s cookies are fully removed, sources told Press Gazette, the open web will have mutated from a place where up to 90% of users were in some way targetable by advertisers, to a vast desert in which most users are essentially invisible to publishers and their clients. Google plans on removing all cookies by the end of 2024.

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