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Exploring Google's Topics API & Ad Privacy

Google has slowly been rolling out its Enhanced Ad Privacy functionality in Chrome, allowing websites to serve ads based on your browser history - unless you manually turn it off. This new approach to targeted ads stems from the interest-based targeting proposal known as Topics, part of the Privacy Sandbox Project. Topics replaced FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) as the preferred way of allowing ad targeting, though some are worried that this alternative to cookie tracking might still invade their privacy.

People started receiving popups about this new feature in July following the release of Chrome 115, which supports Google’s Topics API. Instead of tracking your interests through cookies and the websites you visit, websites can directly ask Chrome what you’re interested in using its Topics JavaScript API. Chrome figures out your interests by studying your browsing history - for example, if you often visit financial websites, Chrome might label one of your interests as “investing”.

When a website checks with the Topics API, it can learn about your interests and show you ads related to it. This technology has been rolling out to a small percentage of Chrome users at a time, with users being asked for their agreement on this ad targeting based on local laws.

Google’s Topics API is an important development for business professionals, as it allows them to reach relevant audience segments without using cookies. By understanding how the Topics API works and how it affects privacy, businesses can ensure they are taking full advantage of this new technology.

Originally reported by Martech:
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