Google FLoC is now making its way in the early version of Google Chrome for a limited number of users

Last year Google announced its plan for introducing a new era to its users privacy through Google FLoC. It is the full abbreviation for Federated Learning of Cohorts, that can track users anonymously by grouping them together in a group with others having similar interests. Later these groups will be targeted with related advertisements, as a whole instead of individual users. After a successful trial run in January 2021, Google is all set to release it to a limited number of Google Chrome users in many countries including US.

The name given to this system maybe technical however the idea behind it is simple and can be explained by just calling it as an alternative to cookies. The only difference between cookies and flocs will be that cookies are small data files used in tracking down a user based on their searches and later target that user based on the data collected, while flocs will not be using any such method instead it will be working at a more broader group level.

At a time where privacy matters the most and due to this privacy concern other tech giant, Apple also updated its iOS to prevent the use of personal data, Google also rolled out its FLoC, which according to the company, will play an important role in minimizing the threats faced by users. Unlike iOS update, which will be available sooner, Google FLoC is still in its testing period that is why for now it will only be available for some users in United States, Australia, Indonesia, Canada, Brazil, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Japan and Philippines.

Though, this plan of Google to make thing more secure and private for their users may sound noble, however not everyone is agreeing with this idea and are accusing it as a cover to hide more complex system of tracking which even exceeds the use of Cookies. Among those foundations who are not going forward with Google FLoC is the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The fact that there are more than one ways through which a user can be tracked, but the company has assured its service users that once Google FLoC is available globally, those alternative methods for tracking users will never be looked at again. To further increase the user’s trust, a new site has been launched which will be dedicated towards the Privacy Sandbox.

Since, FLoC is still in its early stages, users can rule themselves out from participating in the test run. They can restrict the access of third party cookies through the main settings menu of Google Chrome. According to AndroiPolice, Google has added the FLoC setting in Chrome Canary version behind a flag, so if you are interested in checking the option in your settings just open this flag chrome://flags/#privacy-sandbox-settings-2 (only on PC for now), enable it and restart your browser, now open privacy Sandbox tab, by simply visiting this page: chrome://settings/privacySandbox. You can turn on and off FLoC toggle depending on your choice.

Similarly, Android users can remove themselves from getting involved in this test by blocking the third party cookies from the cookie tab which appears after clicking the Site settings from Chrome settings.

By April, Google will update the page by providing a switch on the Google Chrome browsers. With this, users can rule themselves out from Privacy Sandbox and FLoC testing.

Read next: Google Maps Tests an Efficient Feature to Update You About Where You Went in the Past Few Months

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