Is Google dropping FloC? (Probably NOT!)

· 2 min read
Is Google dropping FloC? (Probably NOT!)

Google announced this week that they will be dropping FloC but they’re not really dropping it, they’re just rebranding it as topics. A quick recap of FloC for those who are new or maybe don’t remember.

FloC is the Federated learning of cohorts and it’s basically Google I believe next year is going to ditch support for third-party cookies. So they’re trying to find a new system for advertising coincidentally one that they seem to be in total control of! So FloC was basically a proposed system that would watch your browsing history and then categorize you into different topics for advertising like running or music or tech anything like that.

After a lot of pushback over privacy concerns Google has replaced FloC with topics which is basically the same thing 🤷‍♀️. Brave has noted only two major changes; Number one FloC would broadcast all of your interests with every site you visited. Topics will only broadcast to a site if it was present on the site you came from. For example, people like Facebook (who basically have their fingers everywhere) pretty much every site you go to will still broadcast everything because everybody is on Facebook.

Number two, topics will add small bits of random data to help throw off fingerprinting but it’s probably not gonna be enough. Also, Chrome does a lot of fingerprinting on its own, so Chrome is the only major browser nowadays that doesn’t support any kind of native anti-tracking and anti fingerprinting whatever. This is kind of ironic because you think Google could put that into the browser but still keep off themselves!

Topics can collect a total of five topics per browser and those five rotate based on the last three weeks of browsing. When you visit a website it will share three topics randomly chosen from those top five. This is a slight improvement because FloC shared IDs while topics will share topics as we said and Google is excluding “potentially sensitive categories” like race or sexual orientation. The reason for the quotes is there are other things that are still sensitive besides that.

The test run will feature only 300 topics but Google has said that they might expand that into thousands and it learns based on a “lightweight machine learning algorithm” in the browser. So even if somehow you can turn this off, it is still going to be your browser. Get Rid of Chrome! That’s kind of what’s the big takeaway from this.

The reason why Google is even able to trade with this is that Chrome still has something over 70% of the browser market share. So even if no other browser commits to using FloC, which by the way none of the others are committing to using FloC or Topics. Firefox, safari, edge, and brave are all opposed to this idea. No one wants to support FloC or Topics. Only Google 😡!

Even though they are saying NO this is still a successful decision for Google because so many people use chrome. That’s why I still encourage people to download chromium instead of Chrome; get to brave instead of Chrome; move to Firefox – like any browser instead of chrome will probably be a step towards the right direction with exceptions of browsers like Opera. That is another dead zone that you should not try!

More details about the sane can be found in the following articles

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