Popular web browsers jointly oppose Google FLoC: Proposed replacement to Cookies finds no takers as majority will block API

Google FLoC
Google FloC inside Chrome browser only? Pic credit: Aviavlad/Pixabay

Almost all browsers, and even leading tech giants, have unitedly opposed Google’s proposed replacement to Cookies. Google FLoC has no takers as web browser makers plan to block the tech’s API.

Mozilla, Vivaldi, Brave, and even Microsoft have openly opposed Google’s FLoC. This means Firefox, Vivaldi, Brave, and even Edge browser should not support FLoC API as and when Google extends the same.

Google alone proceeding with FLoC as other browser makers oppose Cookies replacement?

Google seems to be the sole company that is moving ahead with its proposed advertising technology to replace third-party cookies. Every major browser, including those which rely on the open-source Chromium project, has declined to use it.

Brave, Vivaldi, Microsoft, and Mozilla are against Google’s FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts). The browser makers are criticizing the controversial technology due to privacy concerns.

Brave wrote a blog post titled “A Step in the Wrong Direction” explaining why it is against FLoC. The company claims “FLoC is Harmful to Web Users,” because,

“The worst aspect of FLoC is that it materially harms user privacy, under the guise of being privacy-friendly. Others have already detailed many of the ways FLoC is privacy harming. We note here just three aspects of FLoC that are particularly harmful and concerning.”

Vivaldi had a very similar take on Google’s new technology. Through a blog post titled “No, Google! Vivaldi users will not get FLoC’ed” the company emphasized privacy concerns in several areas. Vivaldi termed FLoC “dangerous” and explains why it doesn’t support FLoC:

“At Vivaldi, we stand up for the privacy rights of our users. We do not approve tracking and profiling, in any disguise. We certainly would not allow our products to build up local tracking profiles.

“To us, the word “privacy” means actual privacy. We do not twist it into being the opposite. We do not even observe how you use our products. Our privacy policy is simple and clear; we do not want to track you.”

Mozilla, the not-for-profit organization that makes Firefox browser, as well as Microsoft, which makes Edge browser, has declined to get on board FLoC. These companies haven’t openly criticized Google but indicated they won’t adopt FLoC API.

Is Google’s FLoC a failed technology even before its formal and widespread adoption?

Google recently initiated a trial for FLoC. It has roped in about 0.5 percent of Chrome browser users for the trial.

Reports claim Google hasn’t officially invited or sought consent from any user. Moreover, as Cookies aren’t completely out of the picture, users’ browsing history is now part of Cookies and FLoC.

Although FLoC doesn’t have takers, Google might be concerned. This is because its Chrome browser holds the majority of the browser market share.

As per recent statistics, Google Chrome holds about two-thirds of the market share. Hence, even if every other browser rejects FloC, Google alone stands to gain immensely with FLoC.

Several privacy advocates are still undecided about Google’s FloC. The technology does offer significant anonymity by obscuring individual data in large groups. However, many advertisers claim it puts them at a disadvantage.

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