Apr 24 2024
Ben Larrison

Google Hits Pause, Delays Third-Party Cookie Deprecation Yet Again


Here we go again…

After months and months of promises, pinky promises, and stone-faced utterances of “No, we really really mean it this time!”, Google has officially announced what in recent weeks appeared increasingly inevitable: Third-party cookie deprecation in Chrome will be delayed. Again. This time, to an as-yet unannounced time beyond Q4 2024.

The deciding blow to this latest missed deadline came after a damning report by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) indicating that Google’s Privacy Sandbox would fall short of meeting the country’s regulatory standards.

Per Google’s announcement: “We recognize that there are ongoing challenges related to reconciling divergent feedback from the industry, regulators and developers, and will continue to engage closely with the entire ecosystem. It’s also critical that the CMA has sufficient time to review all evidence including results from industry tests, which the CMA has asked market participants to provide by the end of June. Given both of these significant considerations, we will not complete third-party cookie deprecation during the second half of Q4.”

The news was met with a mix of intrigue, side eye, and shrugs from an industry that has grown increasingly frustrated with Google’s approach to the issue and largely unsatisfied with the Privacy Sandbox’s inconsistent rollout.

“The entire ad industry can’t be ready for change if Google isn’t ready for it,” said Noor Naseer, VP of Media Innovations & Technology at Basis Technologies. “As things stand today, there’s a lot of ambiguity around the application of Privacy Sandbox tools—almost everything the average advertising professional knows about Privacy Sandbox is hearsay. Few have tested it, and they’re all waiting for more reviews on who else has done it, how they’ve done it, and to what degree of success. So this update is not a surprise, but a welcome sigh of relief, even if it’s just a temporary one.”

For now, it appears that Google is eyeing 2025 as its latest target for deprecating cookies from Chrome. But the delay is expected to be temporary, with the goal of giving the company, industry partners, and regulators enough time to work through their laundry list of concerns with the Privacy Sandbox APIs.

“While the industry is getting a bit more time—which certainly provides some relief—the way I see it, this isn’t a reason to take the foot off the accelerator,” said Ian Trider, VP of Product – DSP at Basis. “No matter what, the status quo will not persist forever, and there's basically zero chance that third-party cookie deprecation doesn’t happen at all. At this stage, it’s a matter of making sure that there are sensible technical solutions, and that Google is addressing any risk of anti-competitive behavior to the satisfaction of regulators.”

At Basis, the news of Google pushing back the third-party cookie phase-out to early 2025 is being seen as an opportunity for further refinement. “The delay isn't ideal, but it's an opportunity,” said Robert Kurtz, Group VP, Search Media Solutions at Basis. “We were prepared for the initial 2024 deadline, but with this extended runway, we can double-down on our cookieless targeting strategy, with more in-depth testing and optimization of privacy-focused solutions, first-party data initiatives, and additional partnerships to ensure a smooth transition.” 

“By utilizing this delay strategically," said Kurtz, "the industry can emerge stronger in the cookieless future.”


While third-party cookie deprecation in Chrome may be delayed, the advertising industry is already working to embrace a more privacy-friendly future. Learn more about how marketers are confronting signal loss in our report, Identity vs. Privacy: Digital Advertising in a Cookieless World.