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The newest Chromium builds are featuring a new option that you can enable in the experiments menu that you can access by entering “about:flags” in the Omnibox: block all third-party cookies. But wait, aren’t you already able to do that in Chrome? If you go into Options, then Under the Hood and to Content Settings, you can check off to block all third party cookies without exception.
But while you are currently able to block third party cookies from being set within Chrome, you cannot stop those previously set from being read until you clear them.
Just to explain a bit: third-party cookies are those that are set on websites where they aren’t derived from. So if you’re on yahoo.com and you get a cookie set from facebook.com while on yahoo.com, you’ve received a third-party cookie (this is just an example, I don’t actually know if you can get a Facebook cookie from visiting Yahoo).
With this Chromium option, it is a true cookie blocker. Indeed, an issue was raised in the Chromium bug reports that the feature as it stands in Chrome doesn’t completely block cookies, only stopping new ones from being set or old ones from being modified.
Cookies continue to raise privacy questions, but they also fuel the consumer internet space. Without them, advertisers struggle to find the right mix of marketing messages to place on sites. They also make some tasks easier, like logging in to frequently used sites.
I’m not advocating for cookies, but there has to be some middle ground in order for web properties to be able to sustain themselves through advertising. I don’t believe that people are ever going to start paying to access content on the web, so advertising seems like the only option.
We’ll see whether this experimental option is implemented in Chrome, as Google has a vested interest in making cookies work on sites to target advertising. Perhaps it will be included, since many users will not know how to enable the option, much less understand the function of a cookie anyways. As it stands, do you use the block cookies in Chrome setting right now?