Advice Request Google is testing FLoC on Chrome users worldwide. Find out if you're one of them.

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The_King

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Google is running a Chrome "origin trial" to test out an experimental new tracking feature called Federated Learning of Cohorts (aka "FLoC"). According to Google, the trial currently affects 0.5% of users in selected regions, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the United States. This page will try to detect whether you've been made a guinea pig in Google's ad-tech experiment.
 

silversurfer

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The latest version of Google Chrome Canary has a new feature to disable FLoC -- Federated Learning of Cohorts -- in Google's Chrome web browser.
One option that Chrome users had to opt-out of Floc was to disable third-party cookies. Now, with Chrome Canary build 93.0.4528.0, comes a setting to control FLoC directly.

chrome disable floc


The setting is not yet visible by default, but users may enable it in Chrome by making a change on the browser's experimental features page:
  1. Load chrome://flags/#privacy-sandbox-settings-2 in the address bar of the web browser.
  2. Set the flag to Enabled.
  3. Restart Google Chrome.
The flag is available for in all versions of Chrome, and has the following description:
Enables the second set of privacy sandbox settings. Requires #privacy-sandbox-settings to also be enabled
When set to enabled, it unlocks the FLoC toggle that gives users control over the feature.
Note: Google is running experiments in select regions currently. Privacy sandbox trials and FLoC may be disabled in the browser depending on the region and automated participation in the experiment.

google floc chrome disable


To manage FLoC, do the following:
  1. Load chrome://settings/privacySandbox in the address bar of the browser.
  2. If turned on, disable FLoC on the page to turn off FLoC.
  3. You may also turn of Privacy Sandbox trials there, if turned on.
 

silversurfer

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Today, we’re announcing Topics, a new Privacy Sandbox proposal for interest-based advertising. Topics was informed by our learning and widespread community feedback from our earlier FLoC trials, and replaces our FLoC proposal.

With Topics, your browser determines a handful of topics, like “Fitness” or “Travel & Transportation,” that represent your top interests for that week based on your browsing history. Topics are kept for only three weeks and old topics are deleted. Topics are selected entirely on your device without involving any external servers, including Google servers. When you visit a participating site, Topics picks just three topics, one topic from each of the past three weeks, to share with the site and its advertising partners. Topics enables browsers to give you meaningful transparency and control over this data, and in Chrome, we’re building user controls that let you see the topics, remove any you don’t like or disable the feature completely.

 

silversurfer

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Google drops FLoC and announces Topics as the future cookie-less advertising system​

Closing Words
With more and more companies dropping support for FLoC, it was clear that Google had to do something. Topics replaces FLoC, and it addresses some of the major concerns levelled against FLoC. Whether Google is more successful in convincing other browser makers and companies to include Topics in their products, or in the case of Chromium-based browsers, not disable it, remains to be seen.
 

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Google’s Topics API: Rebranding FLoC Without Addressing Key Privacy Issues
Google recently announced the Topics API, a revision of the earlier FLoC API. Google claims this new API addresses FLoC’s serious privacy issues. Unfortunately, it does anything but. The Topics API only touches the smallest, most minor privacy issues in FLoC, while leaving its core intact. At issue is Google’s insistence on sharing information about people’s interests and behaviors with advertisers, trackers, and others on the Web that are hostile to privacy. These groups have no business—and no right—learning such sensitive information about you.
 

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Same story but a catchier title:
Google Just Gave You the Best Reason Yet to Finally Quit Using Chrome
Ultimately, that change in the way Google is looking at Chrome--that it isn't a tool that serves its users, but is a tool that serves up users to advertisers, albeit in a slightly more privacy protective way--is a bad sign. It's also the best reason to finally ditch it altogether.
 

silversurfer

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Google's FLoC flopped, boffins claim, because it failed to provide promised privacy​

Yet in a recent research paper titled "Privacy Limitations Of Interest-based Advertising On The Web: A Post-mortem Empirical Analysis Of Google's FLoC," MIT Media Lab doctoral students Alex Berke and Dan Calacci argue that FLoC failed to provide privacy, and put personal information at risk.

Privacy advocates expressed those concerns about FLoC when it was being tested. But Google never revealed how its tests went, leaving observers to wonder about the results. So Berke and Calacci decided to investigate.

The two academics set about implementing FLoC using available open source code. They computed cohorts – interest groups – for users based on a dataset of more than 90,000 devices from about 50,000 households across the US, complemented by demographic data from those households. [...]
 

Infinityx

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Google is running a Chrome "origin trial" to test out an experimental new tracking feature called Federated Learning of Cohorts (aka "FLoC"). According to Google, the trial currently affects 0.5% of users in selected regions, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the United States. This page will try to detect whether you've been made a guinea pig in Google's ad-tech experiment.

This is why I don't use Chrome as my main browser anyway. Switched to Firefox years ago and never looked back... didn't know they used etags though. Rip
 

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