Google phasing out third-party cookies
Google plans to phase out support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser within two years. The announcement stems from what the company describes as ongoing efforts to make the web “more private and secure” for users.
“Users are demanding greater privacy—including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used—and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands,” said Google’s director of Chrome engineering, Justin Schuh, in a blog post on Tuesday.
While Mozilla Corp.’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari have already taken steps towards blocking third-party cookies, Schuh called them “blunt approaches” with the potential to negatively impact both users and the web ecosystem.
Critics contend that the move will benefit big players like Google, Amazon and Facebook, all of which have accumulated a treasure trove of customer data over the years. They worry that Google could selectively share this information with agencies seeking to target and measure advertising.
The third party cookie has become the backbone of the programmatic ad world—used by ad-tracking and analytics companies to serve up advertisements based on people’s browsing habits.
Tuesday’s announcement has broad implications for the web, given Chrome’s market dominance. According to the analytics company StatCounter, the Chrome browser currently represents about 63% of browser market share worldwide.
Criteo drops Google news
One indication of the significance of the Google news is the stock of ad-tech firm Criteo. Shares hit a 52-week low Tuesday afternoon in the wake of the Google announcement.
Clearly investors interpreted the Google announcement as bad news for the company, which specializes in retargeting powered by cookies. But in a research note, reported on by CNBC, SunTrust’s Robinson Humphrey pointed out Criteo has been preparing for this, and “aggressively” shifting to non-cookie based identifiers, and “has two years to continue this push/transition.” – D.B.
Senator urges FTC to invest ad-blocking industry
Meanwhile, U.S. senator Ron Wyden is calling for an investigation of the ad-blocking industry. Wyden says ad-tech firms have been accepting money from tech giants to ensure that ads sold through the latter’s ad tech were added to whitelists, meaning they were not stopped by ad-blocking software, The Verge reported Tuesday.
“Hundreds of millions of consumers around the world have downloaded and installed software tools that purport to block online ads,” Wyden wrote in a letter to the American Federal Trade Commission. “In turn, the largest ad companies… have quietly paid millions of dollars to some of the largest ad blocking software companies in order to be able to continue to track and target consumers with ads.” -D.B.
New “Shake” font raises funds for Parkinson’s
A new typeface highlights the changes in handwriting caused by Parkinson’s disease.
Morten Halverson, an associate creative director and art director at ride sharing service Lyft, created the downloadable Shake typeface in honour of his mother, whose writing has changed since she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease eight years ago. Parkinson’s is characterized by tremors and shaky hands, with a change in handwriting among its early indications.
The Shake typeface was creating using the writing of an actual Parkinson’s sufferer, with Halverson saying he plans to release a new version each year to show the disease’s progression. The site also houses a template where people can enter their own handwriting to have it captured for posterity. All funds raised by downloads of the font will go to Parkinson’s research.
Daniel Craig returns for one more Bond film and Heineken ad
Heineken has just released its newest James Bond advertising, with No Time To Die starring Daniel Craig set to hit theatres in April. The ad, “Daniel Craig vs James Bond,” features Craig in a real-life Bond-like scenario, chasing down his passport and wallet accidentally left in a taxi, with humorous moments woven throughout as people mistake him for the real James Bond—though his lack of fitness betrays him at one particularly funny moment.
“Heineken has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the James Bond franchise for over two decades, covering the last eight films,” said Gianluca Di Tondo, senior director, global Heineken Brand, in a release. “Ahead of the release of No Time To Die, we wanted to bring a twist to the iconic character and show how Bond lives beyond the film—as we believe, once James Bond, always James Bond.”
After shooting the last Bond film, Spectre, Craig famously said he would never do another film in the popular spy series, but changed his mind for one final reprisal. Heineken released a two-minute version of the new ad, which finishes with Craig enjoying a bottle of the regular beer. There’s a shorter version where he opts for Heineken’s non-alcoholic option, 0.0%, and a :15 version that has Craig asking for 0.0% because, he says, “I’m working.” –D.B.
Hyundai books its ticket to the Super Bowl
Hyundai is among the first major advertisahs to confirm its presence in this Super Bowl, announcing a celebrity studded Boston-themed ad that will run during the first quartah of the Feb. 2 game.
The ad will star Boston celebrities Chris Evans, John Krasinski, Saturday Night Live alum Rachel Dratch and Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz. Hyundai teased the new work this week with a spot called “Dialect Coach,” which shows Dratch coaching the Dominican Republic-born Ortiz on how to speak with a proper Boston accent.
“Casting is such a critically important part of the ad, and we found four celebrities who worked perfectly together and made our creative concept come to life brilliantly,” said Hyundai CMO Angela Zepeda of the commercial, which marks the beginning of a national campaign supporting the all-new 2020 Sonata.
The final ad will make its TV debut during the Super Bowl Greatest Commercials special airing on CBS on Jan. 27, along with an exclusive behind-the-scenes segment on its creation.