National Data Privacy Day: What Does Google’s Topics Proposal Mean?

In honor of National Data Privacy Day, Resonate Chief Technology Officer Tom Craig shared his thoughts on a few critical questions: What does Google’s Topics proposal mean? What does Resonate have planned for a post-cookie world? What can we expect next?

Earlier this week Google announced a new, privacy friendly API called Topics. While the concept of Topics has been discussed for some time, the specific details are new. Topics is the 2022 replacement of Chrome’s 2020 proposed API, FLoCs. The FLoCs proposal was a complex, poorly understood and ultimately not-private solution to replace third party cookies.  

Google’s current attempt, Topics, which comes across as a cousin to contextual data, certainly checks the privacy box this time but with access so constrained it makes you wonder, “How valuable will this be?”

What Does Google’s Topics Proposal Mean For You?

Topics is an interest-based, contextual API, which includes in-browser evaluation of sites visited, an aggregation of sites, not pages, into a limited taxonomy – currently 305, and limited access to an ever-changing subset of the classification – 3 topics via API. The taxonomy will certainly grow before rollout and the cross-site contextual ability is interesting, but time will tell how valuable it is. 

While nobody knows what Google has up its sleeve long-term with Topics, at this point it seems like they have fully conceded on the privacy conversation and have thrown out a marginally valuable offering to appease the industry and regulators. We’ll just have to wait and see over the coming months.

Here’s What We’re Planning at Resonate

At Resonate, we have been clear-eyed about two facts.  

  • The 3rd cookie deprecation was inevitable.  
  • There is no expectation of a meaningful replacement forthcoming from Google.  

As a result, Resonate has developed solutions fully decoupled from the third-party cookie that provide privacy-friendly, future-proof consumer insights to power all marketing activity.  Resonate delivers the deepest of understanding of the US consumer without cookies.  Our clients love the Resonate  Ignite Platform, which is powered by comprehensive first-party consumer dataset, cutting edge artificial intelligence and machine learning, and deep integration of industry-leading, privacy friendly identifiers. 

The industry should stand ready and interested to work with whatever Google puts into the market, but nobody should expect a solution that comes close to replacing the cookie. Smart brands and agencies are already partnering with companies like Resonate who have looked beyond Google to solve their challenges, help them make more money, and uphold consumer privacy now 

While Googles announcement reminds us of the ongoing need for an internet that respects consumer privacy, we will continue to watch Google’s long term plan over the coming quarters and evolve as necessary. If you would like to talk through what Google’s Topic’s proposal means for you, as well as your concerns about data in a post-cookie world with one of Resonate’s data experts, contact us today. We’re eager to show you what’s possible without reliance on third-party cookies.

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