U.K. antitrust officials are investigating whether Googleâ€™s plan to remove some user-tracking tools from its Chrome browser could hurt competition in the online-advertising industry.
The U.K.â€™s Competition and Markets Authority said it has opened a formal probe into Googleâ€™s plan for Chrome to end support next year of a technology called third-party cookies, which many companies use to track individualsâ€™ browsing habits across multiple websites.
The investigation will examine whether Googleâ€™s planâ€”which hasnâ€™t yet been finalizedâ€”could cause advertisers to shift spending to Googleâ€™s set of online-ad tools at the expense of its competitors, the CMA said. The regulator said it has an open mind and hasnâ€™t determined whether or not any laws have been broken.
Third-party cookies offer data that can be valuable to advertisers for the purpose of targeting ads, but have long raised privacy concerns, leading Google to announce last year that it would stop using them in 2022.
â€œWe welcome the CMAâ€™s involvement as we work to develop new proposals to underpin a healthy, ad-supported web without third-party cookies,â€� a Google spokeswoman said Friday.
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