Floc – that’s the name of the new cookie alternative from Google. The test phase has now started. This tool shows you whether you belong to the group of Google guinea pigs.
A little more than a month ago, the Internet giant Google announced that it would do without third-party cookies in its Chrome web browser in the future. Instead of cookies, so-called “Federated Learning of Cohorts” – or flocs for short – are to be used. These are not based on tracking individual users, but rather on larger groups in which Internet users are grouped.
Flocs are therefore a less intrusive method of collecting data from users. This is because tracking is no longer based on an individual, but on so-called cohorts – or groups – that are grouped together based on their interests.
Now, these new flocs are being tested by Google for the first time – initially on around 0.5 per cent of all Chrome users. These people are mainly from countries like Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines and the USA. It is unclear whether such tests will also be carried out in Europe. In March, Google announced that it would start the tests a little late in Europe due to the stricter legal situation. It is not known when exactly this will be the case or whether this has already happened.
For people who want to know for sure if they are part of the Floc testing phase, there is a simple tool to test it out. So became the website Amifloced.org specially set up for this purpose. Interested users can visit these and click on “Check for Floc ID”. You will then be shown whether you are part of the group on which the flocs are being tested.
Criticism of flocs
Although flocs are supposed to protect the privacy of users more strongly than the old cookies, they are still sharply criticized by some experts, such as «The Sun» Reported. For example from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which launched Amifloced.org. “We’re glad that Google is finally putting an end to third-party cookies, but the last thing they should do is introduce a new tracking alternative,” the website says. Like cookies, flocs should put the needs of companies before the needs of users.
The first floc tests are likely to last until July of this year. The user base on which the new tracking tool will be tested could increase to five percent. That would be around 130 million users worldwide.