Google Makes Pledges to Solve U.K. Ad Tracking Probe

Google’s planned changes to ad tracking may face oversight from U.K. regulators after the company made a set of proposals to end an antitrust investigation.

The Competition and Markets Authority said the commitments come after its probe into Google’s planned phase-out of third-party cookies used by publishers and advertiser to track users and measure the success of advertising campaigns. The CMA said it was concerned that the planned changes could “impede competition in digital advertising markets.”

“The emergence of tech giants such as Google has presented competition authorities around the world with new challenges that require a new approach,” Andrea Coscelli, the authority’s chief executive officer, said in a statement Friday. “If accepted, the commitments we have obtained from Google become legally binding.”

Publishers and advertising technology companies complained in November that the privacy changes will limit their ability to gather information on web users, which helps them offer more valuable advertising. Smaller media companies are at risk of losing as much as 75% of their revenue, they said.

Among the proposals is a commitment by Google “to develop and implement the proposals in a way that avoids distortions to competition and the imposition of unfair terms on Chrome users” and to work with both the competition and data protection authorities, the CMA said.

Google also plans “substantial limits” on how user data will be processed for digital advertising purposes, after the removal of third-party cookies.

Google said in a blog post published Friday that if it’s pledges are accepted by the U.K. it will roll them out globally.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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