Chrome Starts Blocking Some Cookies

John Lister's picture

Google has begun blocking third-party cookies in the Chrome browser. However, it's letting some websites take longer than originally planned to make the change.

When in force, the block means Chrome will disable cookies placed by third parties rather than the site itself. That means sites can continue using cookies that can be useful, for example making a note of a customer's preferred movie theater so that they automatically see relevant listings and times.

Third-party cookies are more commonly associated with advertising. For example, visiting a fishing equipment website might lead to a cookie that meant the user was more likely to see ads for fishing products when visiting other sites, even if they had nothing to do with fishing.

Several other high-profile browsers already block third-party cookies, but Chrome's dominance of the browser market means this could have a major effect on Internet advertising. Possibly for that reason, Google is proceeding cautiously.

One Percent Club

Initially the block will affect around 30 million users. That may sound a lot, but only represents around one percent of Chrome users around the world. It's a limited test before a planned rollout to all users.

Although the third party cookies will be disabled by default, Google says it has the technology to spot if this will affect a site's functionality. It will then give user's the option to re-enable the cookies just for that site. (Source:

Some Sites Can Opt Out

Google is letting sites apply to opt out of the block until the trial has finished and the change is applied to all users. However, this is only allowed for sites and services that are not primarily based on advertising and where the operators can prove blocking cookies will hurt the user experience. (Source:

The block is arguably the biggest change to cookies driven by tech firms rather than regulators. European rules mean sites must get user consent to issue cookies, including third-party ones, that collect personal data. However, the consent collection process has been criticized for irritating users such that they simply click to make the request go away.

What's Your Opinion?

Is Google right to block third-party cookies? Would it be better to leave it up to users to actively choose to block them? Have you spotted a change in websites and ads that might suggest you are among the one percent test group?

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Dennis Faas's picture

I think a better option would be to allow users to choose whether or not they want to allow third party cookies (with the default is off) and at least 1 warning prior to setting the default. Another, similar setting could be implemented to automatically allow cookies (with an option to shut it off) so that we don't have to keep seeing the "we collect cookies" annoying popup for every website being visited. As the article suggests, when you see the request so many times, it's now muscle memory to select "Yes" anyway. Most websites use cookies and they need it to be able to log users on, keep certain site preferences, etc.

eric's picture

The only problem with making it solely user choice is that most internet users don't have a clue about any of this. Even with this well written article that clearly explains everything, I can still think of plenty of users whose eyes would glaze over after the first paragraph.

I think having the option to enable available and turned off by default is the correct way to go. It's the same as when Apple made a similar decision about advertising ID in iOS not long ago. That's one of the few times where I give Apple praise for making the unpopular decision.