It’s been in the pipeline for years and it’s now it’s here – Google has begun killing off third-party cookies in Chrome.

The search giant has taken its time. They are four years behind Mozilla’s Firefox browser and Apple’s Safari browser but now, with their alternative user tracking system, ‘Privacy Sandbox,‘ in place, it’s time to end tracking cookies in Chrome once and for all.

When will third-party cookies be phased out in Chrome?

For approximately 30 million Chrome users, right now. Towards the end of last year, the search giant outlined the changes in an update posted on their blog.

On Dec.14, Anthony Chavez the VP of Privacy Sandbox wrote: “On January 4, we’ll begin testing Tracking Protection, a new feature that limits cross-site tracking by restricting website access to third-party cookies by default.

“We’ll roll this out to 1% of Chrome users globally, a key milestone in our Privacy Sandbox initiative to phase out third-party cookies for everyone in the second half of 2024, subject to addressing any remaining competition concerns from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).”

What are third-party cookies used for and why is this a big deal?

Third-party cookies are small pieces of data stored on your web browser by websites other than the one you’re currently visiting. These cookies are created by third-party companies or domains that are not the primary website you’re interacting with. They are used for personalized advertising and website analytics by tracking user behavior across different websites.

Stopping them matters to online businesses because cookies help sites make money by enabling targeted advertising. Targeted ads mean better ad engagement which in turn means more revenue for advertisers, publishers, and online platforms.

Google’s plan to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome – the world’s most popular web browser – will not go unchallenged.  Several antitrust investigations from both the EU Commission and the CMA are ongoing.

Thousands of advertisers rely on cookies for their revenue and their job will become harder in the short term. Publishers have also been concerned. It becomes harder to monetize websites and ad yields fall. It might lead to a decline in the quality of the content we see online or, what is more likely, we will see more publishers switching to subscription models and a heavier push towards first-party data capture – most commonly done through registration with a website.

But what about the little guy, the casual internet browser? Well, for them the end of third-party cookies has a lot of positives. Firstly we become harder to track( ‘harder’ but not impossible). Secondly, it meets the growing demands of consumers to have better data privacy.

What is Google Chrome’s new ‘Tracking Protection’?

It’s essentially the function which will stop websites from using third-party cookies to track you as you move around the web.

Google emphasized we won’t all get it all at once. Participants will be chosen at random and get a notification when they open Chrome on desktop or Android.

Gradually it will be rolled out to more and more users.

Picture: Created by DALL-E

Sam Shedden

Managing Editor

Sam Shedden is an experienced journalist and editor with over a decade of experience in online news. A seasoned technology writer and content strategist, he has contributed to many UK regional and national publications including The Scotsman,,, Edinburgh Evening News, The Daily Record and more. Sam has written and edited content for audiences whose interests include media, technology, AI, start-ups and innovation. He's also produced and set-up email newsletters in numerous specialist topics in previous roles and his work on newsletters saw him nominated as Newsletter Hero Of The Year at the UK's Publisher Newsletter Awards 2023. He has worked in roles focused on growing reader revenue and loyalty at one of the UK's leading news publishers, National World plc growing quality, profitable news sites. He has given industry talks and presentations sharing his experience growing digital audiences to international audiences. Now a Managing Editor at, Sam is involved in all aspects of the site's news operation including commissioning, fact-checking, editing and content planning.