UK’s competition watchdog to probe Google’s browser changes

Google

The UK’s competition watchdog said on Friday it has launched an investigation to Google’s suggestions to get rid of third-party cookies and other functions from the Chrome browser, following concerns the move could curb rival digital advertisements.

The investigation will evaluate whether the proposals could cause advertising spend to become much more focused on the ecosystem of Alphabet’s Google in the expense of its competitors, the Competition and Markets Authority explained.

Google has said that the technology, referred to as the ‘Privacy Sandbox’ project, enables individuals to get relevant advertisements, helping sustain the current promotion model without monitoring consumers on a single level.

“As the CMA found in its recent market study, Google’s Privacy Sandbox proposals will potentially have a very significant impact on publishers like newspapers, and the digital advertising market,” CMA Chief Executive Officer Andrea Coscelli said.

The CMA said it had received complaints from Marketers to an Open Web (MOW), a coalition of technology and publishing businesses, which allege that Google is “abusing its dominant position” through the tips.

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Web browsers like Mozilla and Apple Inc’s Safari have already blocked third-party biscuits.

“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,” a Google spokeswoman said.

Third-party cookies play an integral role in digital advertising by assisting advertisers target efficiently and fund free internet content for customers, like newspapers, the regulator stated.

It said they also present privacy issues by enabling customers’ behaviour to be tracked across the web in a sense that lots of customers may feel uncomfortable with and may discover difficult to understand.

The CMA said it will utilize Britain’s information watchdog on the investigation.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru. additional reporting by Yadarisa Shabong. Editing by Arun Koyyur and Susan Fenton.

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