Enable Privacy Sandbox in Chrome browser to increase privacy

If you are worried about being tracked as you use the web, Google Privacy Sandbox aims to limit tracking and make the web more private. Enable it in Chrome browser and see how it works.

Cookies and other web technologies are used to track your activities and the websites you visit as you browse the web. Advertisers, pulishers and others want to know everything about you and they gather as much information as possible so that they can build a profile of you. They want to know how you use the web, what for, what you buy, and so on.

Advertisers want to be able to target specific audiences and market segments with specific adverts, and others, well, who knows what they use the information for. They may even sell it on to others.

Third party cookies, which are often used for tracking people as they browse the web, and for advertising purposes, are going away sooner or later and Privacy Sandbox is Google’s alternative that will hopefully have less tracking and more privacy.

The aim of Privacy Sandbox is to limit tracking of individuals, but without completely preventing advertisers and publishers from being able to select custom audiences. It is still a work-in-progress and you can get more information from the Privacy Sandbox website and Google Chrome developer’s site.

Let’s see how to enable Privacy Sandbox on Windows PC, Apple Mac, Linux and Android phones. Wherever Chrome is used, you should be able to enable it.

Enable Privacy Sandbox in Chrome

Make sure you have the latest version of Chrome by opening the menu and selecting Help > About Google Chrome.

Chrome privacy settings
Privacy and security settings in Chrome browser
  1. Open the Chrome menu
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Privacy and security in the sidebar
  4. Click Privacy Sandbox
Chrome Privacy Sandbox settings
Enable Chrome Privacy Sandbox

Right now, there is a Beta logo at the top, but if you are reading this in six months time, that may have gone. Features and settings may change in the future too. For now, turn on the Trials switch.

Browser-based ad personalization

Chrome privacy sandbox settings
Privacy Sandbox interests in Chrome browser

Open this section to see how your web browsing history affects the ads that are displayed in Chrome. Instead of tracking you personally, your interests are determined. Then adverts are shown based on your interests. Chrome automatically deletes interests after four weeks. Is this better than third party cookie tracking? Possibly.

Chrome privacy sandbox settings
Websites you visit define your interests

Move the mouse over each of the i icons to read an explanation of what is happening. Sites that you visit will eventually appear in this window, but it will require sites to opt into it, so not every website will appear. It will be fascinating to see what Privacy Sandbox shows here.

Ad measurement

Chrome privacy sandbox information
How advertisers measure ad performance in Privacy Sandbox

Instead of cookie tracking, websites you visit will be able to request information that helps advertisers measure the success, or not, of their ads. Clearing the browser’s history will delete information that is stored about you.

Spam and fraud reduction

Chrome privacy sandbox information
Websites use trust tokens to fight fraud with Privacy Sandbox

Trust tokens are generated as you browse and use websites and this may help to build trust with other websites you visit and avoid being mistaken for a bot. You may have been challenged to prove you are a real person by being asked to click all the parts of a photo that contain cars, traffic signs, or some other object. Trust tokens may replace that.

Enable Privacy Sandbox on Android phone

Privacy Sandbox in Chrome on Android phone
Privacy Sandbox on Android phone

All of these Privacy Sandbox features are available in Chrome on Android phones too. Just tap the three dots button in the top right corner of Chrome to open the menu and then press Settings. Tap Privacy and security and turn on the Trials switch to enable the feature.

Block third party cookies

The aim of Privacy Sandbox is to remove the need for third party cookies and eventually they will be no longer used in browsers, so why not disable them right now?

Disable third party cookies in Chrome browser.
Disable third party cookies in Chrome browser
  1. Click the three dots in the top right corner
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Privacy and security in the sidebar
  4. Click Cookies and other site data
  5. Select Block third-party cookies

Cookies are useful and some websites rely on them to function. Third party cookies are not essential and disabling them should cause no problems. If you do find a site that requires them, which is unlikely, you can always return here and enable them.

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