Google has unveiled its new data tracking tool following the dismantling of third-party cookies – but the tool isn’t being well-received by certain parts of the search community, including some WordPress developers.
Google announced a tool called the Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC, in January. FLoC anonymously groups web users together based on their interests, allowing advertisers to target them that way. Google has explicitly stated that FLoC is an “effective replacement signal for third-party cookies.”
READ MORE: Google will no longer use standard tracking tool after third-party cookies are phased out
The announcement quickly earned criticism from the search community. The Electronic Frontier Foundation called FLoC “a terrible idea,” adding that “users and advocates must reject FLoC and other misguided attempts to reinvent behavioral targeting.”
The search industry has approached FLoC with caution: search engines competing with Google have blocked FLoC, and independent developers have published plugins that block FLoC on WordPress.
Now, WordPress is in talks to block FLoC from its platform. WordPress developers and enthusiasts have been discussing how the platform will handle Google’s new tool, in respect to user privacy concerns.
Within the conversation, some users discussed whether or not FLoC could really be labelled a security threat. Many questioned whether blocking the tool would come with negative consequences, like damaging automatic updates or harming AdSense performance.
Search Engine Journal published a collection of transcribed comments from the conversation – you can view them here.