back to article What can we rid the world of, thinks Google... Poverty? Disease? Yeah, yeah, but first: Third-party cookies – and classic user-agent strings

On Tuesday, Google published an update on its Privacy Sandbox proposal, a plan thoroughly panned last summer as a desperate attempt to redefine privacy in a way that's compatible with the ad slinger's business. In a blog post, Justin Schuh, director of Chrome engineering, asked the web community for help to increase the …

  1. IGotOut
    Devil

    Visit inducing lingo.

    "We believe that we as a community can, and must, do better."

    I guess it sounds better than

    "We believe that we as a privacy violating, data harvesting, multi billion dollar advertising company can, and must, do better."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Visit inducing lingo.

      Vomit?

  2. DougS Silver badge

    I trust Google to help privacy

    In the same way I trust a heroin junkie to babysit an infant.

    1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

      Re: I trust Google to help privacy

      Aren't you missing the word "cannibal"? Upvoted anyway.

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: I trust Google to help privacy

        "In the same way I trust a heroin junkie to babysit an cannibal."

        That actually sounds like a good policy. Two birds, one stone.

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: I trust Google to help privacy

      "In the same way I trust a heroin junkie to babysit an infant."

      My parents used to let Timothy Leary babysit. He thought I was twins until I was six.

      (Apoligies to the writers of Dharma and Greg.)

  3. b0llchit
    Mushroom

    Ad-washing

    We already have Green-washing. Now the devil himself is Ad-washing? Or what is going on here?

    A future quote from the devil:

    Your privacy is very important to Google. We certainly do not share your data with you, therefore, it will be private by definition. Google will be the only one who has access to your private data. We ensure your privacy in every way and prevent you from sharing your private life to anybody, including yourself. Google knows how to handle all your private data and can therefore be trusted to keep it safe from you.

  4. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    "Once these approaches have addressed the needs of users, publishers, and advertisers..."

    How do they plan to address three mutually-exclusive sets of needs, except by ignoring the fact that they're mutually exclusive?

    1. localzuk

      Realistically, they don't care about the first 2. Only the last one. As those are the ones paying them.

    2. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Once these approaches have addressed the needs of advertisers, advertisers and ... oh yes, advertisers

      There, FTFY

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    "and we have developed the tools to mitigate workarounds,"

    The workarounds they would like to mitigate are primarily any that prevent them from sucking up your data as well as preventing anyone else from beating them to it.

  6. JohnFen Silver badge

    Of course

    > Electronic Frontier Foundation staff technologist Bennett Cyphers said there doesn't appear to have been much community interest in Google's proposals.

    Why would there be much interest? Google proposal is a bad joke, designed to allow the practice of tracking people under the thin veil of being "protective of privacy".

    That said, killing third party cookies can only be a good thing.

  7. Sleep deprived

    Why would I want to use Chrome even if Google pretends to play nice?

    I started disabling third-party cookies in Firefox and Chrome the day I learned about them. Then I stopped using Chrome when Google released its hypocritical V3 Manifest, soon before Firefox strengthened its anti-tracking features. I only launch Chrome if a website doesn't load properly to check whether it's browser or plugin-related (UBlock, Privacy Badger and Cookie Autodelete - NoScript prevents so many websites from working I was always whitelisting). Or maybe I should launch MS Edge in those cases ;)

    1. Mike 137 Bronze badge

      "NoScript prevents so many websites from working I was always whitelisting"

      Whitelisting is the only safe approach, and then only if you've reverse engineered the JavaScript and know it's not been changed since you did so.

      Every corporate user security policy I've ever examined (and that's over some 20 years) states "thou shalt not download software and run it on your work computer". So we hand folks a wide open web browser with JavaScript (and even maybe Flash) enabled by default, which effectively breaches the policy whenever they browse the web.

      Doesn't seem like compliance (or security) to me.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rid the world of something?

    Google, you could start by:

    - Stop logging all searches

    - Stop scanning and reading gmail users emails (Yes, google still does this)

    - Stop scanning and using peoples personal files in your cloud services for marketing or other purposes

    - Stop trying to track everyone around the web

    - Stop storing the tons of data you do from android users (for advertising/statistics)

    - Stop using your chrome browser as a means to target users with ads more easily

    - etc

    In fact, Google, just stop being Google. To be honest, when Google say "We care about your privacy" I can't help but laugh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: when Google say "We care about your privacy" I can't help but laugh

      but they DO care. Possibly, there's no other company in the world that cares SO MUCH about your privacy which is, essentially, their bottom line. Well, maybe except Amazon. And Microsoft. And all other usual suspects. THEY. ALL. CARE.

  9. LDS Silver badge

    Who needs 3rd party cookies when we control the browser itself?

    Google just became aware that it no longer needs 3rd party cookies (which it can't control fully) when it can control the very tool people use to browse the web - all the data 3rd party cookies and tracking techniques attempt to use are already there - and without any chance for the user to block it (but using a different browser, of course).

    Thereby the more control Google has on user data, the more advertisers have to pay Google for targeting through that data...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "privacy gaslighting"

    interestingly, this term is the first (and only) example (btw, Numero Uno) in my browser's search results. I wonder, how long before some un-identifiable bot from an un-identifiable A-behemoth deletes this entry, entirely by accident of course...

  11. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Google cares for my privacy?

    Aw, bless!! How touching!

    </sarcasm>

  12. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    Meh

    Conflict of interest

    Whenever a security breach is found, most responsible people patch to fix the problem.

    Third-party cookies are one such breach, and yet google will do something in 2 years time?

    As for user agents, all mine have been "stuck" at the same thing (well, updated perioidically to match the latest and most popular version) for years.

    Anyone who tries to assume browser-capabilities based on user-agent string can sod off. This ain't the 90's

    (We need a "grumpy old man" icon)

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Conflict of interest

      Anyone who tries to assume browser-capabilities based on user-agent string can sod off. This ain't the 90's

      A year or so back I changed my user agent string to the IE6 one to check out obsolete browser handling, got interrupted before I changed it back and then knocked off for the day. Next morning I'd forgotten about this and was baffled by many web sites including the Google search page looking remarkably like flashbacks to the 90s. I don't know if that still happens, but doing this to an unsuspecting colleague's browser might provide a gentle amusement for a Friday afternoon if it's still the case .

      1. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: Conflict of interest

        I imagine that it's still the case since the User Agent String seems to be the only clue the server has as to what capabilities the user's browser has. As a communication tool, UA strings would seem to leave a **LOT** to be desired. But I'm not sure that I trust Google to fix them properly. Entirely too much of a "What Big Teeth You Have Grandma" element in that situation.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Conflict of interest

      "(We need a "grumpy old man" icon)"

      I can provide a selfy (passport photo) that would probably do the job.

    3. ratfox Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Conflict of interest

      (We need a "grumpy old man" icon)

      You mean like this one here? Young people these days...

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