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Google Kills Off FLoC To Introduce Topics API

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Tech Giant Alphabet Inc.'s (GOOGL) search engine and advertisement wing Google has decided to replace sharing cookies with FLoC with the new Topics API, which concentrates on the interests of the users for directing ads. This technology will look at the seven-day search algorithm of the user and figure out the top 5 interests to direct the ads.

FloC, or Federeate Learning of Cohorts, was originally designed to group users into small cohorts where the identity of the user will not be specified but the user will be a part of a group of users who share similar interests. But this API method was put under scrutiny as the experts believed that Google will act as the gatekeeper of all personal details and since it is the shareholder of 65% of the ad market, the companies will soon typecast people by just the search options and that can eventually lead to a worse situation than the present.

With Topics API, Google will be able to save the browsing data for three weeks. The number of subjects is also being tied to 300, though the number will increase with time. The browser will use its algorithm to categorize the search pattern into one of the categories. Then, when a user enters one of the sites supported by the Topic API, the browser will share three topics of interest based on the saved topics and share them with the advertising partner to show you a more personalized advertising experience. This will also allow the users to remove certain topics from the lists as well, giving them more control over their search patterns and ads.
The company said in a post on GitHub, "For each week, the user's top 5 topics are calculated using browsing information local to the browser. One additional topic, chosen uniformly at random, is appended for a total of 6 topics associated with the user for that week/epoch."

Google's Privacy Sandbox lead Ben Galbraith said before the announcement, "The design of topics was informed by our learnings from the earlier FLoC trials, And this resulted in a bunch of great feedback from the community, as I'm sure you know. As such, Topics replaces our FLoC proposal and I want to emphasize that this whole process of sharing a proposal, doing a trial, gathering feedback and then iterating on the designs — this is the whole open development process that we wanted for the Sandbox and really shows the process working as intended."

Google plans to run the Topics API till the end of the quarter to see the response it gets as the FLoC API was immediately made redundant by a lot of the vendors.

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