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What is FLoC?

Google announced that they would be turning off support for third-party cookies within the Chrome browser. This is going to change how companies, including Google, track users on the internet. Unfortunately, this does not mean that Google will stop tracking you. Google is replacing third-party cookies with something called FLoC or Federated Learning of Cohorts.

FLoC is Google’s alternative to third-party cookies and is based on machine learning. This will allow your web browser to anonymously study how you are browsing and then group you into a ‘cohort’. You will then be served ads based on which cohort you fall into, and not on your individual data. So, you are still going to be targeted with ads but in a more anonymous way.

Google claims that this will improve user privacy since the “federated learning” happens on your device and artificial intelligence-based learning involves sharing less of your information than what happens with third-party cookies. If something like this gets widely adopted by ad companies and services, it should “protect users” from tracking methods that are more intrusive than third-party cookies, like browser fingerprinting.