What’s Google’s FLoC and Why are Privacy-focused Browsers Trying to Block It?


DuckDuckGo recently announced its plans of blocking FLoC, a brand-new method implemented by Google that tracks the browsing activity of Google Chrome users. As Google is slowly moving away from using third-party cookies in Google Chrome, it is channelizing its energies towards developing newer or alternate technologies like these.

According to Google, FLoC offers more security than third-party cookies as it keeps a track of group activities and not actions taken by a single individual. In the case of FLoC, browsing activity cannot be associated with a single user. Despite that, it does plan to feature personalized ads.

Why are Experts Against Google FLoC?

Privacy experts like DuckDuckGo keep a close watch on pertaining to different kinds of tracking. Even when an issue seems to be minor, DuckDuckGo looks at it very seriously. A major issue DuckDuckGo has with FLoC is the fact that users don’t have the choice when it comes to their browsing activities being tracked by this method. If you are a Chrome user, your activities are bound to be tracked by FLoC.

Going by the kind of practices DuckDuckGo adheres to, one had expected it to take cognizance of this matter immediately and that’s exactly what has happened. FLoC was launched by Google around two weeks ago and plans have already been made by DuckDuckGo to block it. DuckDuckGo intends to get it blocked in the Chrome browser extension and in its own search engine.

DuckDuckGo is now in the process of getting its Chrome browser extension so that it can block the activities performed by FLoC on its websites. The update is yet to be approved by Google and released. This has been a standard procedure since ages. Google has the authority to approve the updates that are supposed to be made to Chrome extensions. Users can download the updates only when the approval from Google comes in.

DuckDuckGo seems to be quite confident about the update getting approved by Google and being available to download in version 2021.4.8 of the Chrome extension. Once available, users can download the update from the Chrome Web Store. Meanwhile, DuckDuckGo has introduced users to the FLoC-blocking feature via an update that’s available now.

Using the DuckDuckGo search engine will enable users on different browsers and devices to automatically opt-out of FLoC. All this is a part of DuckDuckGo’s larger goal to safeguard user privacy. Even if Chrome users don’t have the browser extension installed, they will be switched out of FLoC when they use this search engine.