Home Education Number of concerns over Google Privacy Sandbox grow to 111

Number of concerns over Google Privacy Sandbox grow to 111

Number of concerns over Google Privacy Sandbox grow to 111


The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) now has 111 potential concerns over Google’s Privacy Sandbox, according to its April Q1 2024 report. That’s up from 72 in the CMA’s Q4 2023 report, released January.

Why we care. The CMA’s January report made it clear that Google couldn’t proceed with third-party cookie deprecation. Sure enough, Google announced a third delay in the phase-out of cookies, with hopes to complete the process in 2025. But again, this is just a delay. Third-party cookies will go away.

Why the concerns? The CMO and the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) are concerned the Privacy Sandbox could make Google even more dominant, giving them an unfair advantage that could hurt advertisers, competing ad platforms, publishers and users.

Multi-touch concerns. One addition to the report is around concerns over Google’s approach to attribution:

  • “Stakeholders have expressed further concerns around Google’s approach to multi-touch attribution, arguing that ‘single touch’ attribution is likely to advantage Google.”
  • “For example, a current user journey may involve seeing an ad several times on different properties (e.g. a publisher site, their social media feed, etc) before the user takes an action. Users may also act on their intent to convert by searching for the advertised product. Stakeholders are concerned that Google is likely to be the ‘last touch’ and therefore capture more of the value from conversions than other market participants.”
  • “We have shared this feedback with Google and await its response.”

What is Google’s Privacy Sandbox? Google is introducing the Privacy Sandbox program as an alternative to third-party cookies to enable advertisers to deliver targeted ads in Chrome while minimizing improper cross-site and cross-app tracking.

Maybe 2025. Google started phasing out third-party cookies to 1% of Chrome users in January. However, Google announced yet another delay to third-party cookie deprecation on April 24:

“We recognize that there are ongoing challenges related to reconciling divergent feedback from the industry, regulators and developers, and will continue to engage closely with the entire ecosystem. It’s also critical that the CMA has sufficient time to review all evidence including results from industry tests, which the CMA has asked market participants to provide by the end of June. Given both of these significant considerations, we will not complete third-party cookie deprecation during the second half of Q4. We remain committed to engaging closely with the CMA and ICO and we hope to conclude that process this year. Assuming we can reach an agreement, we envision proceeding with third-party cookie deprecation starting early next year.”

Privacy Sandbox update

The report. You can read the CMA Q1 2024 report here (PDF).


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