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FloCing Topics - Google drops FLoC after widespread opposition, pivots to “Topics API” plan

J-from-Nucleon
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Summary

Google is walking back plans to replace third-party cookies with FLoC by instead proposing the Topics API, a new system for interest-based advertising. Topics works by pinpointing five of your interests, such as “Fitness” or “Travel & Transportation,” based on your web activity, as measured by participating sites, for one week.

 

Quotes

Quote

So what's the difference between the Topics API and FLoC? Both let the browser track you and your interests and report those interests to advertisers when they ask, leading to ads with higher click-through rates. Topics will give users a bit more control over how this process happens and should make users less individually identifiable. Google says that the Chrome settings will show users which topics the browser has detected they're interested in, and users will be able to delete topics they don't want to see ads for. Most importantly, Google says users and sites will be able to opt out of the Topics API.

A full list of initial topics is available here; it includes categories such as "Football," "Politics," and "Software." Google says topics will be public, human-curated, and scoped to avoid sensitive areas like ethnicity or sexual orientation. Behind the scenes, the system will work by mapping website hostnames to various topics, and as you browse the web, your browser will build a local list of your topics. When an advertiser asks for a list of topics, the browser will serve up one topic from each of the past three weeks of usage. Google is proposing that advertisers will "only receive topics they've observed" from other sites. So if you visit a knitting website and it has Google ads, only other sites with Google ads would know about your knitting habits.

 

Quote

“It definitely improves on FLoC in some important ways,” Bennett Cyphers, a staff technologist at EFF told The Verge. “Being less scary than FLoC doesn’t mean it’s ‘good.’ It will tell third-party trackers about what kind of sites you browse, and it could help websites and advertisers ID you across devices.”

My thoughts

So google finally decided to drop FLoC for another method of tracking/targeted advertising called Topics. This, at first glance, seems to be better than FloC and also seems to be more user-friendly (as in easier to opt-out for the average non-techie). But how much better (or worse) it is, we're probably gonna have to wait and see.

 

Sources

ArsTechnica

TheVerge

Google: 1-Blog 2-Developers Blog 3-Github 4-PrivacySandbox

If you think I'm wrong, correct me. If I've offended you in some way tell me what it is and how I can correct it. I want to learn, and along the way one can make mistakes; Being wrong helps you learn what's right.

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Oh great, even more crap after god damn cookies banners? Now we'll be opting out "Topics" ?

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Why the hell dont they just go back to advertising based on the site that you are looking at? Cause theres gotta be a reason you are on that site and providing ads based on the sites content will prob draw your attention more than a completely unrelated ad anyways

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22 minutes ago, Somerandomtechyboi said:

Why the hell dont they just go back to advertising based on the site that you are looking at? Cause theres gotta be a reason you are on that site and providing ads based on the sites content will prob draw your attention more than a completely unrelated ad anyways

I agree, and ads based on the sites you visit would be the easiest to opt out of. Sure, ads based on interests is better than FLoC, but targeted ads based on interests is still terrible imo.

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I just hope they ll change the current system because I m afraid to search for anything now days. I searched for "elephant ears" for my modeling, and I be had advertisment for a month about some plant named " elephant ears". Not to mention shoes related search. The spam is getting strong there.

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5 hours ago, J-from-Nucleon said:

Google says topics will be public, human-curated, and scoped to avoid sensitive areas like ethnicity or sexual orientation.

So by this, much like other companies doing "human curation" of a list, I assume they mean it will be done by AI within a few months of release without telling anyone.

I eagerly await the first time an AI suggests a slur or something similar on this "human curated list" and it becomes national news.

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7 hours ago, HarryNyquist said:

I eagerly await the first time an AI suggests a slur or something similar on this "human curated list" and it becomes national news.

A.I's do love their slur's, remember tay?

oh tay, she was so based, the perfect internet companion...

*Insert Witty Signature here*

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