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Google’s trust ‘is here to take cookies down

Google said earlier this year that it would join other web browser companies to block third-party cookies in Chrome, and today developers have their first chance to test a proposed alternative to tracking users online: trust tokens.

Unlike cookies, trust tokens are designed to authenticate a user without having to know their identity. Trust signs may not be able to track users across sites because they are theoretically the same, but they could still let sites prove to advertisers that actual users – not bots – visited a site or clicked on an ad. (An explanation on GitHub suggests, however, that sites could issue several different types of trust tokens.)

Google has been a little slower in adapting a solution to third-party tracking cookies, which everyone seems to hate; Safari and Firefox already block them by default, though Safari is more aggressive towards it. But Mike Schulman, Google̵

7;s vice president of privacy and security for ads, reiterated in a blog post that the company still plans to eventually phase out third-party cookies in Chrome as well.

In addition, Google makes some adjustments to the “why this ad” button that lets you see why some ads are targeted to you. The new label “about this ad” will now also provide the verified name of the advertiser so you can tell it Which one companies are targeting you and making it clearer to people how Google collects personal data for ads. The new labels will start rolling out towards the end of the year.

The company also announced an extension to its Chrome browser, which is currently in alpha, called Ads Transparency Spotlight, which should provide “detailed information about all the ads they see online.” Users will be able to see details about ads on a given page, see why ads are appearing on a page, and a list of other businesses and services with a presence on the page, such as site analytics or content delivery networks.

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