Cookieless browsing: the beginning of a new digital era

Apr 13, 2023 3:47:56 PM | Data Privacy Cookieless browsing: the beginning of a new digital era

A significant change in the digital world is on the horizon. Google Chrome, the world's largest search engine with a current market share of around 92%, has announced it will stop using cookies in the future. With this decision, they join the ever-growing list of browsers that have already renounced the use of cookies. Cookieless browsing will be the future. But what is cookieless browsing, and what changes will it bring in the future?


Current cookie policy

A cookie is a small text file that a website puts on your computer's hard drive at the time you visit a website. Currently, someone using an internet browser mainly encounters two types of cookies; First-party and third-party cookies. First-party cookies are directly stored on the host domain a user visits. They provide a good user experience by, for example, collecting analytics data and remembering specific settings and are considered something positive. Third-party cookies are created by domains other than the host domain and are mainly used for tracking and online advertising purposes, which can be privacy-infringing. With the abandonment of the use of cookies, the term cookieless browsing is misused. In fact, it will only be the third-party cookies that will be banned. 

Growing concerns

The ban on third-party cookies can be seen as a reaction to the growing concerns about the use of these cookies on the web. Because of their function, the use of third-party cookies is seen by more and more people as a violation of their right to privacy. This concern with regard to possible privacy risks is now also visible in the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer). Dijkgraaf, the Dutch minister of education, for instance, already called on the House of Representatives to give more "structural attention" to privacy in Dutch education. As a result of this, a non-binding advice has been provided to schools to search for alternative browsers and search engines until Google Chrome has an alternative to third-party cookies that can better guarantee the privacy and data protection of students. 

Google Privacy Sandbox

According to Google's most recent announcements, Privacy Sandbox will be the replacement for third-party cookies in the near future. Privacy Sandbox is a collaborative initiative to develop new privacy-protecting technologies to improve privacy on the web, phase out third-party cookies, and limit covert tracking. It will be the so-called 'Topics' within the Privacy Sandbox that is designed to preserve privacy while showing relevant content and ads. When Google announced 'Topics' at the beginning of last year, it described its operation as follows: 

"With Topics, your browser determines a handful of topics, like "Fitness" or "Travel & Transportation," that represent your top interests for that week based on your browsing history. Those topics will be kept for only three weeks. After that, the old topics will be deleted. Topics are selected entirely on your device without involving any external servers, including Google servers. When you visit a participating site, Topics picks just three topics, one topic from each of the past three weeks, to share with the site and its advertising partners. Topics enable browsers to give you meaningful transparency and control over this data, and in Chrome, we're building user controls that let you see the topics, remove any you don't like, or disable the feature completely."Source:

Another part of the Privacy Sandbox proposal that will contribute to the ban of any third-party cookies is FLEDGE. With FLEDGE, on-device ad auctions can take place to serve remarketing and custom audiences, but all of this without cross-site third-party tracking. Google expects to phase out third-party cookies over a three months, starting in mid-2023 and ending in late 2023. 

Google is following other search engines with this decision to ban third-party cookies. For instance, Safari, a web browser developed by Apple, started blocking third-party cookies in 2019 and became the first browser to take a step towards a more privacy-proof online world. Apple's Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) feature improved privacy for Safari users by blocking third-party cookies that identify and track users on the internet. Over the last couple of years, Apple has continued to update ITP. 


The end of third-party cookies doesn't mean the end of consent. Even without using cookies and trackers for targeted advertisements, you are still legally bound by the GDPR, the ePrivacy Directive, and other data security laws. Consent from end-users to process their personal data will persist long after the ban of third-party cookies and the technologies replacing them. Using consent management can be a solution for managing consent within your organization in a world without third-party cookies. 

Your personalised solution?

The PrivacyPerfect Consent Management Solution offers a centralized, integrated, and fully customisable system for collecting and processing consent and data requests of users concerning the GDPR and other privacy regulations. Do you want to manage your customer’s consent? Check out our consent management solution.