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Microsoft is developing a new technology to replace cookies. This work is similar to projects being undertaken by Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Tracking cookies have come under scrutiny recently from regulators by many concerned about privacy.
Certain types of cookies (Third party tracking cookies) are now easily blocked through built-in functions and extensions/add-ons within main web browsers. Google’s Chrome browser, however, has all cookies fully enabled by default to maximize advertising revenue. On the other hand Apple’s Safari browser blocks third party cookies by default and Firefox is considering doing the same. The Do Not Track function is also impeding advertisers; with Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer, at the forefront having it enabled by default. Most browsers also have a private setting which blocks many cookies when it is enabled.
Microsoft’s new technology will be designed to enable tracking across a users desktop, tablet, smartphone, and Xbox console. This technology should also include Microsoft services including their search engine Bing. Tracking in mobile devices remains a key point. The big advantage of Microsoft’s emerging technology is that it could track a user across a platform. Microsoft plans are currently in the early stages, and no further details whatsoever are know, but, Microsoft have released a statement: “We agree that going beyond the cookie is important. Our priority will be to find ways to do this that respect the interests of consumers,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email.
AdAge reports: Microsoft’s cookie replacement would essentially be a device identifier, meaning consumers could give permission for its advertising use when opting in to a device’s regular user agreement or terms of service. Microsoft would then become directly responsible for users’ data and, assuming it doesn’t share it with third parties, confine privacy concerns to the Redmond, Wash. based company rather than countless companies that currently collect data on people’s browsing behaviours.
At its core, Microsoft’s cookie replacement would enable what’s already possible on a desktop web browser with third-party cookies and extend it to a new device, such as a smartphone or a connected TV.
Microsoft’s cookie replacement program could also include behavioural data from Microsoft’s own services, such as Bing, sources said. This means that search data could inform TV-style advertising within streaming video apps on The Xbox platform. Emarketer analyst Lauren Fisher said “In terms of identifying the same user across platforms, there has to be another way.” The Media Kitchen president Barry Lowenthal also commented, “Not only would [Microsoft] be building out an ad ID, but they would also be building out a cross-channel attribution model, which everybody wants.”
A cookie replacement that would work on Xbox should round up advertiser interest, considering the console has become more of a connected tv device. In the last year, 46 million people devoted 18 billion hours of non-gaming entertainment on their consoles, such as movies and TV shows, Xbox marketing executive Yusuf Mehdi said earlier this year.
So is the death of cookies imminent? Not quite yet, however it maybe on the horizon.
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