Google has proposed replacing third-party cookies with its own tools, as part of a digital sandbox" set to be rolled out in 2022. But the watchdog said the changes could hurt publishers' ability to make money as well as undermine digital ad competition, entrenching Google's market power.
Google's Privacy Sandbox proposals will potentially have a very significant impact on publishers like newspapers, and the digital advertising market. But there are also privacy concerns to consider," the CMA's Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said in a statement. Regulators will work with the U.K.'s privacy commissioner and engage with Google during the investigation, he said.
Chrome is the world's dominant web browser, and many others like Microsoft's Edge are based on Google's Chromium technology. In a market study last year, the CMA found that Google controls more than 90 per cent of the U.K.'s 7.3 billion-pound (USD 10 billion) search advertising market.
Google stressed that it hasn't made any changes yet and it's collaborating with the industry to come up with the best solution.
The company pointed out that other browsers such as Safari and Firefox have already started blocking third-party cookies but also acknowledged that such moves hurt the ability of content creators, newsrooms, web developers and videographers to make money.
Creating a more private web, while also enabling the publishers and advertisers who support the free and open internet, requires the industry to make major changes to the way digital advertising works," the company said.
The CMA opened its investigation after receiving a complaint from an industry lobbying group, Marketers for an Open Web, which has said the changes would create a walled garden" owned by Google and deny publishers access to cookies they use to sell digital ads, crimping their revenues by up to two-thirds.
Providing more directly identifiable, personal information to Google does not protect anyone's privacy," said the group, made up of technology and publishing companies. We believe that the CMA's investigation will confirm this and save the web for future generations.
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.