Google changes FLoC to Topics API

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Society is very aware of privacy and data processing. This concern has caused third-party cookies to begin to suffer criticism, becoming disapproved by many experts and professionals.

Google withdraws FLoCs and changes them to Topics API, a new way of grouping users.

In this context, Google decided that cookies should be removed and is working on a new tool to maintain privacy while keeping relevant samples for ads.

Thus, Google came up with the initial solution of FLoCs (Federated Learning of Cohorts). FLoCs divided users into cohorts each week based on their browsing history, to report the activity of these anonymous cohorts to advertising websites.

The problem is that FLoCs have certain flaws, e.g., lack of clarity and transparency from the user’s point of view, as well as key security risks.

Topics API, Google’s new privacy solution

At this point, last January 25, Google announced that fLoCs would be replaced with Topics APIsa better solution based on interests and information, as well as data and feedback that Google has received from those users who participated in FLoC testing.

The main difference between FLoC and Topics API is that, instead of assigning a cohort ID to each user each week, it will assign three to five possible topics of interest every three weeks, based on their browsing history activity. The API will then send companies and advertising tools information about three of those topics.

For example, a website about soccer will be included in the “Sports” category. The topics are configured to exclude potentially sensitive categories (race, sexual orientation, religion or more).

Topics API currently has 350 topics and the number is expected to increase in the future. In this regard, websites can choose to have one or more topics assigned to them.

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