Google faces an investigation in the UK over Chrome
Google faces an investigation in the UK over Chrome

Britain's competition watchdog has announced plans to investigate Google's planned changes to the Google Chrome browser.

The UK Competition and Market Authority (CMA) said: Google plans to remove external cookies from the Google Chrome browser, which could lead to a significant increase in ad spend across the Google ecosystem, and competitors will pay for it.

Company cookies allow users to track online to serve personalized ads.

For years, the cookie has allowed newspapers and other media companies to offer free content to customers, but it has also been attacked by data protection officials who consider it spam.

Google said: There are plans to expire cookies in the widely used Google Chrome browser by 2022 through a series of changes known as privacy protection boxes.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority announced that it had received several complaints about the impact of "privacy protection" on competition.

Andrea Cosselli, Executive Director of the Competition and Markets Authority in the United Kingdom, said in a statement that Google's proposal for a "privacy protection fund" could have a significant impact on publishers and the digital advertising market.

He added: Privacy concerns also need to be taken into account, which is why we continue to work with the UK Information Commissioner (ICO) to conduct this investigation while sharing our concerns directly. With Google and other market participants.

If Google violates UK Competition Law, the UK Competition and Markets Authority can impose a fine of up to 10% of its annual sales.

According to Google's $ 46 billion in 2020 revenue, the fine could be as high as $ 4.6 billion.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority announced in July that around 80% of UK digital advertising spending of 14 billion pounds (19 billion US dollars) in 2019 was spent on Google and Facebook.

According to the regulators, Google controls more than 90% of the search ads market in the UK while Facebook controls more than 50% of the image ad industry.

A Google spokesperson said: Creating a network that provides more privacy and enables publishers and advertisers to support a free and open internet will require major changes in the way digital ads work.

He added: Google welcomes the participation of the UK Competition and Markets Authority in developing a new proposal to support ad-supported sites without advertising cookies.

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