Google has announced plans to limit the ability of other companies to track people across the internet and collect information about them, a significant change that has widespread ramifications for online privacy as well as the digital economy.
The company said Tuesday that it plans to phase out the use of digital tools known as tracking cookies, which other companies use to identify people online and learn more about them.
The move is meant to offer users greater control over their digital footprints and enhance user privacy, according to Google. But the move could also provide Google with even greater control over the online advertising market, which the company already dominates.
Google said the change will come to its Chrome web browser and be rolled out over two years. Google did not announce any changes to its own data collection methods.
Google also said that a previously announced change to make third-party cookies more secure and precise in their abilities will be rolled out in February.
Justin Schuh, director of engineering for trust and safety for Google’s Chrome, said the search giant needs time to enact changes because it is working with advertisers and publishers to address the need for cookies to remember sign-ins, embed third-party services such as weather widgets and deliver targeted advertising.
But he did not downplay the significance of Google’s announcement.
“We want to change the way the web works,” he said in an interview.
In August, Google announced an effort to develop new standards for the web, called “Privacy Sandbox,” to provide a way to sustain the online advertising market while limiting the collection of personal user data.