Google’s new Topics API, part of the Privacy Sandbox, aims to replace third-party cookies that have been tracking users’ online activities for years. This summer, Google began rolling out the Topics API, which allows a browser to share information with third parties about a user’s interests while preserving privacy.
The inclusion of the Topics API in July’s Chrome 115 release means that soon, all Chrome users will have access to this new feature. However, if the idea of sharing information about your interests with third parties doesn’t appeal to you, you have the option to turn it off.
To disable the Topics API in Chrome, follow these steps:
1. Click on the three dots in the upper-right corner of the browser window.
2. Go to Settings > Privacy and Security > Ad privacy.
3. Alternatively, you can type “chrome://settings/adPrivacy” into the address field.
In the Ad privacy settings, you’ll see three categories: Ad topics, Browsing history, and Site-suggested ads. By clicking on each category, you can pause and learn more about the topics and sites associated with you by Google. You also have the option to disable subcategories within each category.
For example, under Ad topics, you can block the “Business and industrial” subcategory while keeping the “Computer and video games” subcategory active. This allows you to customize your ad preferences based on your interests.
Alternatively, if you want to save time, you can toggle off all three categories at once, ensuring that no information about your interests is shared with third parties.
It’s important to note that disabling the Topics API is not a foolproof privacy method. Individual websites may still have their own cookies, tracking pixels, and other methods of collecting data about you. However, disabling the Topics API is a step towards protecting your privacy online.
If you’re looking for more privacy-centric browsing options, there are alternatives to consider. DuckDuckGo and Brave are two browsers known for their privacy features. DuckDuckGo focuses on providing anonymous search results, while Brave offers enhanced privacy measures such as blocking ads and trackers.
In conclusion, the inclusion of Google’s Topics API in the Privacy Sandbox is a significant step towards addressing privacy concerns related to third-party cookies. With the ability to disable the API and explore privacy-centric browsers, users have more control over their online privacy. However, it’s essential to remain vigilant and aware of other tracking methods employed by individual websites.