The U.K. government's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating Google's plan to end support for all third-party cookies in Chrome and the Chromium browser engine by 2022 as a part of its Privacy Sandbox project. The CMA is looking into whether such a plan would restrict rival's digital advertising.
- Chrome wants to implement a new system wherein advertisers would get more limited, anonymized data about users. However, such changes to Chrome, which is installed on over 70% of U.K. computers, could hurt news sites and the digital advertising market.
- The Competition and Markets Authority said Google’s plan could cause advertising spend to “become even more concentrated on Google’s ecosystem at the expense of its competitors," while also posing privacy issues.
- Marketers for an Open Web (MOW), a coalition of small tech companies and publishers, says its members' revenues could drop by up to two-thirds, and again give Google too much power. "Google will effectively control how websites can monetize and operate their business," it warned.
- MOW has also expressed concern over Google's plan to end support for user-agent strings, which the CMA also investigated last year.
- A Google spokesperson says they "welcome" CMA's investigation “as we work to develop new proposals to underpin a healthy, ad-supported web without third-party cookies.”
- Google first announced that Chrome will eventually phase out third-party cookies and will also stop updating its user-agent string last January, sparking controversy.