Coronavirus Delays Google Chrome Cookie Update

Google announced that the introduction of SameSite cookie labeling will be rolled back.

Users of Chrome 80 will not have the SameSite labeling enabled.

SameSite Cookie Labeling

SameSite Cookie labeling is a part of Google’s two year journey toward eliminating third-party cookies altogether.

This rollout was to help specific third party sites maintain cookies in order to keep the web working normally.

For example, if a person is signed in at an online payment site, that person can be treated as signed in on someone else’s site and not need to sign in order to make a payment.

Google is trying to stop any disruption in web browsing.

“According to Google:

“In light of the extraordinary global circumstances due to COVID-19, we’ve decided to temporarily roll back the enforcement of SameSite cookie labeling on Chrome 80 stable.

We recognize the efforts of sites and individual developers who prepared for this change as part of our ongoing effort to improve privacy and security across the web.

We appreciate the feedback from across the web ecosystem which has helped inform this decision. We will provide advance notice on here and the Chromium blog when we plan to resume the gradual rollout, which we’re now aiming for over the summer.”

Screenshot of a notice of a Same Site Cookie in Chrome dev toolsScreenshot of a SameSite cookie notice via Chrome DevTools

According to Google’s announcement in January 2020:

“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.

Some browsers have reacted to these concerns by blocking third-party cookies, but we believe this has unintended consequences that can negatively impact both users and the web ecosystem.

By undermining the business model of many ad-supported websites, blunt approaches to cookies encourage the use of opaque techniques such as fingerprinting (an invasive workaround to replace cookies), which can actually reduce user privacy and control. We believe that we as a community can, and must, do better.”

Why Google is Rolling Back SameSite Labeling

Google is delaying the rollout in how they treat cookies because the coronavirus epidemic makes it difficult for companies to manage their developer teams and keep them from complying with the new standards, particularly hospitals and government sites.

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Google’s announcement mentioned the kinds of sites that could have been negatively affected has this update been phased in:

“we want to ensure stability for websites providing essential services including banking, online groceries, government services and healthcare that facilitate our daily life during this time. “

This move by Google will have a positive effect on people’s lives during the epidemic.

Google tentatively plans to roll out the Chrome update in the summer.