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DuckDuckGo plans to block Google’s FLoC

DuckDuckGo to block Google’s alternative to third-party cookies

Search engine DuckDuckGo announced plans to block Google’s alternative method to third-party cookies, called FLoC. The company finds it particularly alarming that getting tracked by FLoC is not optional for users.

As Google moves away from using third-party cookies in Chrome, it’s developing a new method of tracking users’ web activity called FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts), that monitors activity at a group rather than an individual level.

Instead of a personally identifiable cookie, FLoC runs locally and analyzes browsing behavior and creates groups with similar interests. This means all browsing activity that advertisers see won’t be tied to an individual account. Instead, advertisers are shown an estimate of interest from a group of people who are divided into groups based on common interests.

However, alternative search engine DuckDuckGo is particularly disappointed that Google has already begun tracking user groups without their consent. The company finds it especially concerning that getting tracked via FLoC is not optional and that all Chrome users are automatically opted into it.

“We’re disappointed that, despite the many publicly voiced concerns with FLoC that have not yet been addressed, Google is already forcing FLoC upon users without explicitly asking them to opt in. We’re nevertheless committed and will continue to do our part to deliver on our vision of raising the standard of trust online,” DuckDuckGo said in a statement, cited by the Search Engine Journal.

Google launched FLoC less than two weeks ago, and DuckDuckGo is already planning to block it in the DuckDuckGo search engine and Chrome browser extension.

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