Previously, as part of opting out of cookies to collect information about user interaction with sites and personalize ads, Google offered FLoC technology, the essence of which was to divide users into cohorts according to interests. Now in order to replace it, the company has introduced a new technology called Topics API.
To determine the interests of the user, Google plans to use the history of web surfing from the browser over the past three weeks. The sites they visit will be sorted into categories, or topics, limited to three hundred for the time being, but will increase over time. “Sensitive” topics like gender and race will not be among them. A lightweight ML algorithm will analyze resources and determine their approximate topics by domain and content.
If the visited site supports the Topics API for advertising purposes, the browser will give it three topics of interest to the user – one for each of the three weeks, and they will be randomly selected from the top 5 topics for those weeks. The site will then pass this information to advertising partners for selection of ads, says Dev.
According to the company, this ad configuration scheme is better in terms of both privacy and transparency, as well as user control: users will be able to view the topics assigned to them and remove them from the list, as well as completely disable the Topics API. The development was carried out by the same Privacy Sandbox project as the FLoC technology, taking into account feedback about it from the community. However, FLoC was received rather coolly, and it is not yet known whether browser developers will support the new idea.
NIXSolutions notes that the topics API testing will begin at the end of the quarter. In addition to the blog post, Google posted a detailed technical description of the technology.