Cookies under pressure
In mid September an anonymous Google employee revealed that one of the oldest elements of online advertising is rapidly crumbling. An article in USA Today contained details of a plan in the works at Google to replace 3rd party cookies with a proprietary tracking system currently named AdID. Google would control how AdID is used by advertisers; a marked difference from the existing 3rd party cookies which have no central management and have led to privacy concerns and blocking by web browsers. The Ad Exchanger blog went into some detail as to how 3rd party cookies currently function and the IEEE Spectrum offered a comparison of how things might change in a post 3rd party cookie world.
3rd party cookies seem to be on the way out regardless of what Google does. Apple's Safari browser blocks them by default and Firefox will soon follow suit to better accommodate 'do not track'. Cookies are not well suited for a multi device world and usually lose track of a consumer who picks up a smart phone, game console or uses a set top TV box. Microsoft is working on its own system that clearly focuses on tracking an individual across devices. Apple, Amazon and Facebook are the other major players and Business Insider wrote about the incredibly high stakes involved as the web giants battle for supremacy in identifying advertising targets as they move around the digital world.