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UK's CMA Launches Probe Into Google's 'Privacy Sandbox' Browser Changes - Quick Facts

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority or CMA said Friday it has launched an investigation into Google's (GOOG,GOOGL) proposals to remove third party cookies and other functionalities from its Chrome browser.

The CMA noted that Google's announced changes - known collectively as the 'Privacy Sandbox' project - would disable third party cookies on the Chrome browser and Chromium browser engine.

The investigation was launched following complaints of anticompetitive behavior and requests for the CMA to ensure that Google develops its proposals in a way that does not distort competition.

The CMA said it received complaints, including from Marketers for an Open Web Limited, which accused Google of abusing its dominant position. Marketers for an Open Web is a group of newspaper publishers and technology companies.

The CMA's investigation will determine if the Google's proposals could cause advertising spend to become even more concentrated on the tech giant's ecosystem at the expense of its competitors.

The third party cookies will be replaced with a new set of tools for targeting advertising and other functionality that Google says will protect consumers' privacy to a greater extent.

The project is already under way, but Google's final proposals have not yet been decided or implemented, the CMA said.

Third party cookies play a major role online and in digital advertising by helping businesses target advertising effectively and funding free online content for consumers, such as newspapers.

However, they also allow consumers' behavior to be tracked across the web in ways that many consumers may feel uncomfortable with and may find difficult to understand, the CMA noted.

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