UK regulator secures global competition commitment from Google | Science and technology news


Google has received approval from the UK competition regulator for its online advertising reform proposals, including a ban on third-party cookies in its Chrome web browser.

The tech giant – the one next to Facebook holds a huge share of the global advertising market – says reforms will improve how the industry handles individuals’ data.

But bystanders, including the Competition and Markets Authority, are concerned GoogleThe plans of would “result in online ad spend being even more focused on Google”.

Victory for British regulation

In a victory for UK regulators, the CMA said on Friday it was happy to let Google investigate its privacy sandbox plans further after receiving commitments from Google that the company would roll out on a global basis.

Crucially, the CMA has blocked Google from removing third-party cookies until the regulator is satisfied that doing so does not pose a competitive risk.

Google says planned updates to its Chrome web browser (used by more than 69% of all web users) will remove “commonly used tracking mechanisms like third-party cookies” and block covert techniques that websites use to identify their users .

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Cookies are small files that are stored in web browsers when they visit a website and are, for example, the software that allows users to stay logged in to a website.

Third-party cookies are cookies that do not originate from the website that the web browser is visiting, but are associated with a third party, often an advertising service.

Many companies complained that Google’s removal of third-party cookies would affect their ability to customize and personalize advertising based on information they could collect about users, making them even more dependent on Google’s own user databases.

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The CMA was also concerned that the proposals “could undermine the ability of online publishers like newspapers to generate revenue and continue to produce valuable content in the future, thereby limiting the public’s choice of news sources.”

The online news industry is losing a growing share of the advertising market to the “De facto duopoly” by Google and Facebook, with more than 60% of all UK media advertising going to these companies in 2019.

Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said: “Our intervention in this case demonstrates our commitment to protecting competition in digital markets and our global role in shaping the behavior of the world’s leading technology companies.

“The commitments we received from Google will increase competition, help protect online publishers’ ability to monetize advertising and protect user privacy.

“Although this is an important step, we have no illusions that our work is done. We are now entering a new phase where we will be keeping a close eye on Google as we continue to develop these proposals.

“We will work with all market participants in this process to ensure that Google takes into account the concerns and suggestions that have been raised,” he added.

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