Google plans to end support for third-party tracking cookies in the Chrome browser, which is ostensibly a response to users’ growing demands for privacy. But Google is first and foremost a company that makes its money by advertising… and these days that’s primarily targeted advertising. So the company plans to keep doing that.
Instead of cookies that track individual users to build profiles, the company has introduced a system it calls FLoC, or Federated Learning of Cohorts. The basic idea is that instead of building a profile of individual users, Google will create groups of users with similar interests so ads can be targeted at folks who fall into those groups.
Theoretically it’s closer to being anonymous. In practice, that all depends on how big the groups are and how specific the interests are. Google recently began testing FLoC in the wild, and it’s already facing some serious backlash.
Privacy advocates generally haven’t been fans of replacing one form of tracking with another. And now makers of a growing number of web browsers that are based on Google’s Chromium are saying they’re going to opt out of FLoC. That includes the Brave browser, which makes sense, since it’s already a privacy-focused browser, but also the Vivaldi web browser. Meanwhile privacy-first search engine DuckDuckGo has released a browser extension that will let you block FLoC even if you’re using the Chrome web browser.
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Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
- DuckDuckGo, Brave, and Vivaldi will block Google’s FLoC [xda-developers]
Google’s Chrome browser will eventually block 3rd-party tracking cookies, which sounds like a plus for privacy. But Google is developing its own FLoC system that aggregates data from multiple users rather than individuals. It’s facing growing backlash.
- AMD Ryzen 5000G chips with integrated graphics for desktops [AMD]
AMD launchers Ryzen 5000G series desktop processors with 7nm Zen 3 CPU cores and Radeon graphics. They’re OEM-only for now, which means you might buy a PC with a Ryzen 5000G chip, but you can’t build your own until retail versions come later this year.
- Apple confirms April 20th launch event [Engadget]
Apple is holding a product launch event on April 20, when the company is expected to introduce new iPads, Macs, and possibly some accessories.
- Spotify’s first hardware product is here, and it’s probably going to confuse you [Android Police]
Spotify’s first hardware device is the invite-only Car Thing. It’s a 5 inch touchscreen gadget with a dial and support for voice commands that’s designed to let you stream Spotify music to cars without their own entertainment hardware via BT, USB, or aux.
- New Fast Pair experience for Android [@Android]
Google introduces a new Fast Pair experience for Android devices, enabling quick pairing with 100+ Bluetooth headphones and earbuds from companies including JBL and Sony.
The new Fast Pair experience on #Android is here. With an updated, easier-to-use layout, see how it makes connecting Bluetooth devices to 100+ devices from partners like @JBLaudio and @SonyElectronics more simple and convenient all with a single tap. pic.twitter.com/cWuMMcATrP
— Android (@Android) April 13, 2021
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