Alphabet’s Google would not be able to eliminate user-tracking technology that is important to advertisers from its Chrome browser without sign-off from Britain’s competition regulator under a proposal released on Friday.
The company said it had welcomed the opportunity to work with the regulator on its initiative to reconcile privacy and competition concerns. The Competition and Markets Authority in January began reviewing Google’s plan to cut support for some cookies in Chrome as early as next year.
Companies in the $250 billion global online display advertising industry had expressed concern that the loss of cookies in the world’s most popular browser would harm their ability to collect information for personalising ads and make them even more reliant on Google’s user databases.
In a series of commitments, the CMA announced on Friday, which are subject to public comment until July 8 before becoming final, Google would involve the regulator closely in a project, known as Privacy Sandbox, to develop alternative tracking technologies.
Google has said that users increasingly expect the web to be more private. But some advertising cookies have allowed consumers’ web browsing to be tracked in ways that concern some of them.
While Google last year said its potential alternatives to cookies would better protect users’ privacy, British investigators found they also would “distort competition” in online ads and “allow Google to exploit its apparent dominant position”.