Earlier this year, Google began to shed more light on FLoC, the system they developed as an alternative to cookies that would give visibility to certain user browsing data in a less invasive way, while resisting the effects of tracking blockers.
DuckDuckGo, a search engine that bases its reputation on its emphasis on privacy within the search service it offers, recently implemented a mechanism that can block the effects of this new technology.
Although an immediate action to avoid exposure to FLoC is to avoid Google Chrome for everyday browsing (here we are Firefox fans), this option is not entirely practical for those who are already in the habit of using that browser or for those who find transitions from one software to another complicated.
For these situations, DuckDuckGo has released an alternative that simplifies things for those who want to reinforce their privacy, discouraging the collection of their browsing data. This is its now classic DuckDuckGo extension for Chrome, which in addition to providing easy access to the search engine, evaluates the privacy level of sites and blocks certain trackers.
The latest update of this add-on features a new tracker blocking technology, capable of neutralizing FLoC activity.
Having this extension simplifies a series of optimizations that can be performed directly from the browser to obtain a similar experience. Specifically, in this case it would be necessary to unlink any Google account from the browser, disable ad customization in Google Ads settings, disable app web activity and cross-device data synchronization.
If you use Google Chrome and are concerned about staying out of the way of trackers, paying attention to this would be a consequential action.
This technology, an alternative to cookies, arose under Google’s eagerness to personalize the user experience of its services (particularly advertising), without the obstruction of tracker blockers that have become massive today and the cessation of the use of third-party cookies in more and more situations, by developers.
To work, FLoC assigns each user into a common group, as a generic ID, to help websites recognize patterns and target individuals.
Initially, Google implemented this system as an alternative to personalize ads under demographic and search trends, leaving cookies behind. However, the current expansion of FLoC was extended to the general level of navigation, regardless of the preferences of each user in this regard.
In view of this, the aforementioned extension is now available as an alternative that takes these safeguards. Similarly, in the case of mobiles, FLoC can be dispensed with by replacing Chrome with an alternative browser or with the app of this search engine, which also implemented this new blocking mechanism.