New Update Chrome 115 will introduce the Privacy Sandbox; here’s what it mean for you

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Welcome Privacy Sandbox: Google’s cookie-killing spree hits the browser in July. Here's what it means.

Google Chrome users will see a pop-up starting in July when they update their browser to version 115 , initiating the first phase of Google’s years-long Privacy Sandbox project. The prompt, which describes the changes as “Enhanced ad privacy in Chrome,” is the first stage in Google’s astonishingly complicated plan to kill third-party cookies. Some users are seeing it already, but the prompt won’t hit everyone at the same time. According to Google, the change will affect every browser gradually over the course of the coming weeks.

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silversurfer

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How to turn off Google Chrome's built-in Advertising features
When you check the current Privacy Sandbox controls in Google Chrome, you will notice that all are about ads. There is ad topics, which refers to a user's interests based on the browsing history, site-suggested ads, which allows visited sites to find out the interests of the user, and ad measurement, which allows sites and advertisers to measure the performance of ads.

Privacy is not mentioned once in the entire section. While it is possible that Google is adding more controls to the section in Settings, it is entirely used to control the new advertising system in Chrome.

Most Chrome users may want to turn off these features to improve privacy. It may seem contradictory, but disabling the options under Ad Privacy, and making another change in Chrome improves privacy actually.


ad topics off



Here is what needs to be done right now:
  1. Load chrome://settings/adPrivacy in the address bar.
  2. Select Ad topics and toggle the preference to Off.
  3. Go back to the main Settings page.
  4. Select Site-suggested ads and toggle the preference to Off.
  5. Go back to the main Settings page.
  6. Select Ad measurement and toggle the preference of Off.
  7. Load chrome://settings/cookies in the address bar next.
  8. Select "Block third-party cookies" under Default behavior.

Making these changes should not cause compatibility issues. There may be some sites that use third-party cookies for legitimate purposes. Chrome includes an option to add these sites to the allow list.

If you notice that you can't sign-in to a site anymore or are signed-out regularly, you may need to add specific sites to the allow list.

Here is what happens when you turn off the features: Chrome and advertisers can't track you anymore using the new system, as it is turned off. Sites won't be able to track you using cookies either anymore. That eliminates a large amount of tracking. While this won't reduce the number of ads you see on the Internet, it will reduce personalized ads dramatically.

Tracking is still possible through other means, e.g., fingerprinting techniques, which do not rely on cookies.

There are four policies available currently that control Privacy Sandbox features. Administrators may use them to disable the features for users.
 

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Google Chrome 115 Is Here, but You Might Not Like It
Google Chrome 115 starts rolling out today, with Google's replacement for tracking cookies enabled by default.

Google released Chrome 114 at the end of May, complete with a new Reading Mode and a few new features for websites. Chrome 115 will start rolling out later today with the long-awaited replacement for tracking cookies, but not everyone is on board.

The main change in this release is the full rollout of the Topics API and related technologies, also known as the “Privacy Sandbox” project. The Topics API is Google’s intended replacement for cross-site tracking cookies, which aims to be more secure, but still involves tracking you across the web for targeted advertisements. The main difference is that cookies sent much of your browsing history straight to advertising networks, but with the Topics API, the Chrome browser itself analyzes your browsing history and profile and sorts you into a somewhat-generalized categories (e.g. “cats” or “tennis”), which ads can then use.
Chrome 115 has a few other new features, but they are locked behind a feature flag for now. The experimental features include “HTTPS Upgrades” to automatically replace all HTTP navigations with HTTPS where possible, scroll-driven animations for web pages, and a Shared Storage API that reduces the need for cookies to store data across sites.
 

silversurfer

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Today, it was revealed that the Privacy Sandbox APIs would be enabled for a small percentage of people who have installed Chrome 115 beginning the week of July 24. The plan is to enable about 35 percent of Chrome 115 users with the new APIs.

After that initial rollout, Google plans to enable the Privacy Sandbox APIs to about 60 percent of Chrome 115 users at the beginning of August. By mid-August, about 99 percent of Chrome 115 users will have the APIs up and running. That's also when Google plans to release Chrome 116 in the Stable channel.

 

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Does that mean that we can't deactivate the Privacy Sandbox anymore after a certain time, as described in the Ghacks article you linked?
Curious to what the other main chromium-based browser will do.
 

silversurfer

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Does that mean that we can't deactivate the Privacy Sandbox anymore after a certain time, as described in the Ghacks article you linked?
I don't know at the moment, we need to wait for more report articles to be sure. The question is what happens for other chromium-based browsers... 🤷‍♂️
 

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Does that mean that we can't deactivate the Privacy Sandbox anymore after a certain time, as described in the Ghacks article you linked?
Good question, I still have the settings available.
And just as or more important is the question of when the other privacy features will be rolled out and enabled by default for all users, instead of hidden behind flags, etc.
These are some of them
Strengthen cross-site privacy boundaries

CHIPS: Allow developers to opt-in a cookie to partitioned storage, with a separate cookie jar per top-level site.
First-Party Sets: Allow related domain names owned by the same entity to declare themselves as belonging to the same first party.
Shared Storage: Create a general-purpose API which allows sites to store and access unpartitioned cross-site data. This data must be read in a secure environment to prevent leakage.
Storage Partitioning: Enable all forms of user agent state, such as localStorage or cookies, to be double-keyed: by the top-level site as well as the origin of the resource being loaded, rather than a single origin or site.
Fenced Frames: Securely embed content onto a page without sharing cross-site data.
Network State Partitioning: Prevent browser network resources being shared across first-party contexts, by ensuring that every request has a network partition key that must match in order for resources to be reused.
Federated Credential Management (FedCM): Support federated identity without sharing the user's email address or other identifying information with a third-party service or website, unless the user explicitly agrees to do so.
What is the Privacy Sandbox? - Chrome Developers
I don't know at the moment, we need to wait for more report articles to be sure. The question is what happens for other chromium-based browsers... 🤷‍♂️
I believe it's simply a matter of time before it rolls out across all chromium browsers because of its code complexity.
 

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oldschool

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Another gem from the great Dedoimedo!
Google Chrome & ad privacy feature, the slow death of the Web
Google Chrome & ad privacy feature, the slow death of the Web

Updated: September 9, 2023

Whenever I hear the words ads and privacy, I chuckle. The almost-fanatical obsession with ads as a business model is something that always baffles my non-Westcoasian brain, and so, whenever products try to make me into a product, I resist. A few days ago, I wrote an article about Microsoft Edge & personalized Web experience, and the stupid "Got it!" button. In that piece, I also wrote how Google will do their thing, without actually asking you, unless compelled by law.

Well, Chrome now has something called Ad Privacy feature. For the past few years, the company has done its best to "nudge" users into participating in their new ad experiments. If I'm not mistaken, there was FLoC, Privacy Sandbox, whatever, and now Topics. Whatever you call these things, it comes down to the same thing. Your browsing activity is profiled, and your monkey activities are monetized. This new feature seems to be more of the same. Let's talk details.
Le prompt

I updated Chrome on one of me machines (where it's actually installed as a SECONDARY browser), and I got this popup tell that me about Ad privacy feature AKA Topics. Lots of words for what is essentially a replacement for third-party cookies. Basically, instead of having these third-party cookies keep a naughty eye on you, you now have the browser that analyzed what you do, creates categories, and then asks the ad publishers to serve ads that correlate to your categories of interests, i.e., topics. In other words, Google is the gatekeeper for the ad business in Chrome, all the way.

As you can expect, I detest this concept. Not because of the tracking. Because I have never EVER seen one useful ad in my entire Internet life, and therefore find them totally pointless. Old TV commercials with big budget production, tricks, gimmicks, cool videos? Yes, there were a few great ones. Online ads? Pointless low-IQ stuff.

Popup

At the very least, the popup lets you select "No thanks". But that's not all. You still need to go into Settings and turn two additional options off. Privacy and security > Ad privacy. Here, you will also need to turn off Site-suggested ads and Ad measurement.

Settings

Measurement

Notice the amazing ergonomics of super-pale gray fonts on white background.
Conclusion

Google decided to forge ahead with this initiative despite protests and recommendations from pretty much everyone else (in this regard Apple and Mozilla, creators of Safari and Firefox). But it has always been the case, and most ideas and improvements that Google suggests are only good for Google really. Now, I am not really affected, for now, as I use Firefox as my primary browser, and with a nice, juicy adblocker like UBlock Origin (UBO), things are quiet and sane. Now, wait until I tell you about Manifest v3, woo-hoo!

The destruction of the Internet will not stop until it becomes just like the pay-per-view cable TV of the late 80s and early 90s. It would seem it's the only business model the "management" understands. After all, to have a super-successful mega-corporation, you must follow the rules - and that's the 1950s shoe-in-the-door salesman, with a side dish of MBA and a touch of Californian sun for good measure, perhaps an inspirational quote or two on your "business social media" profile. But inevitably, this is where we're going. Service as a service, ads, DRM, everything locked and triple-locked. The Internet began its death around 2013 or so, and it's transforming into new-age cablenet. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Cheers.
 

silversurfer

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How does Google Privacy Sandbox work?​

The Privacy Sandbox works by locally computing a user's interests directly within the browser, instead of using third-party cookies. This means that advertisers can no longer track users across multiple websites.

The Privacy Sandbox is broken up into three components:
  • Ad topics: This component generates users' interests based on their browsing history. These interests are then used to show personalized ads
  • Site-suggested ads: This component allows websites to suggest ads to users based on their interests
  • Ad measurement: This component allows advertisers to measure the performance of their ads
Users can control how their data is used by the Privacy Sandbox in the Chrome browser settings.

They can choose to disable all three components, or they can choose to disable individual components.

Google Privacy Sandbox work

How to disable Google Privacy Sandbox​

The Privacy Sandbox is currently being rolled out in Chrome, but it is not yet enabled by default.

Here are the steps on how to disable Google's Privacy Sandbox in Google Chrome:
  1. Go to Settings > Privacy & Security> Ad privacy
  2. Under Privacy Sandbox, toggle off the following options:
    • Ad Topics
    • Site-suggested ads
    • Ad measurement
Once you have disabled these options, the Privacy Sandbox feature will be disabled in its entirety. Alternatively, you may block individual topics and sites if you wish so.

To disable the Privacy Sandbox, simply uncheck the box next to "Enable".

Google Privacy Sandbox will be tested throughout 2024 and third-party cookies will be deprecated starting in Q1 2024.

Google states: By Q4 2024, third-party cookies will be entirely disabled by default in Chrome.
 

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