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Amid upbeat revenue reporting, Google delays third-party cookies plan again

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The CMA has previously expressed concerns about Google's replacement APIs on competition, and the project has generally not received positive feedback

Google has postponed the removal of third-party cookies in its Chrome browser once more.

The decision is made two days before Google and the United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) jointly publish their quarterly report on the subject.

After numerous project setbacks, the tech giant attributes the most recent delay to input from the developers, regulators, and industry. The update comes at a time when the tech giant is reporting first-quarter revenue that exceeds analysts’ expectations, buoyed by growth in the company’s cloud computing unit.

“It’s also critical that the CMA has sufficient time to review all evidence including results from industry tests, which the CMA has asked market participants to provide by the end of June,” the announcement, posted on the company’s Privacy Sandbox website stated, as reported by the Techradar.

This has caused a delay in the browser’s deprecation of third-party cookies, which was initially scheduled to go into effect in the second half of Q4 2024.

Google has now delayed its goal for the third time; the first attempt was made in January 2020 with a two-year timeline; the company has not yet received a new deadline. The industry is currently well-positioned for yet another setback, and the hazy expectation of a launch in 2025 leaves plenty of uncertainty surrounding the deprecation of third-party cookies.

The CMA has previously expressed concerns about Google’s replacement APIs on competition, and the project has generally not received positive feedback.

However, as the online advertising sector braces itself for a world devoid of third-party cookies, the entire scheme comes to a grinding halt.

“Assuming we can reach an agreement, we envision proceeding with third-party cookie deprecation starting early next year,” Google commented further.

Meanwhile, talking about Google’s upbeat earnings report, the tech giant’s parent organisation, Alphabet, generated sales, excluding partner payouts, of USD 67.6 billion for the three months that ended on March 31, surpassing the USD 66.1 billion expected on average by analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Net income was USD 1.89 per share, compared with Wall Street’s estimate of USD 1.53 per share.

The company will also pay a dividend of 20 cents a share, its first-ever, along with a repurchase of an additional USD 70 billion in stock.

Like its tech industry peers, Alphabet has been ploughing money into developing artificial intelligence, a strategy that has helped drive demand for its cloud services, which saw revenue rise 28% in the 2024 first quarter. Google is a distant third in the cloud computing market, trailing Amazon and Microsoft, but the company’s prowess in AI could help it close the gap, analysts feel.

“The main thing is, we are really excited about the benefit from AI for our cloud customers. We saw an increasing contribution from our AI solutions. The Google Cloud results really reflect broad strength across the industry,” Google’s Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat informed the media.

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