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Google “trust tokens” are here to remove cookies in a stick



Google said earlier this year that it would partner with other browser companies to block third-party cookies in Chrome, and today developers have their first chance to test a proposed alternative to tracking users online: trust tokens.

Unlike cookies, trust tokens are designed to authenticate a user without having to know their identity. Trust marks cannot track users on websites because they are theoretically the same, but they can still allow websites to prove to advertisers that actual users – not bots – visited a website or clicked on an ad. (A GitHub commenter suggests, however, that websites may issue several different types of trust symbols.)

Google has been a little slower in adapting a solution for third-party tracking cookies that everyone seems to hate; Safari and Firefox already block them by default, although Safari is more aggressive towards that. But Mike Schulman, Google̵

7;s vice president of ad privacy and security, reiterated in a blog post that the company still plans to eventually phase out third-party cookies in Chrome as well.

In addition, Google makes some adjustments to the “why this ad” button that lets you see why certain ads are being targeted to you. The new “about this ad” label will now also provide the advertiser’s verified name, so you can tell as companies target you and make it clearer to people how Google collects personal information for ads. The new labels will start rolling out towards the end of the year.

The company also announced an extension for its Chrome browser, currently in alpha, called Ads Transparency Spotlight, which will provide “detailed information about all the ads they see on the web.” Users will be able to see details about ads on a given page, see why ads are displayed on a page, and a list of other companies and services with a presence on the page, such as site analytics or content delivery networks.


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