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Microsoft announces Privacy-Preserving Ads API for Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge browser

Google, Microsoft, and other mainstream browser developers want to phase out third-party cookies in favor of more privacy-minded solutions that allow for relevant ads without relying on cross-site tracking. Today, Microsoft announced the Privacy-Preserving Ads API for Microsoft Edge, a browser platform for advertising with privacy protection and better data control.

Microsoft has published a post on the official Microsoft Edge blog, where the company detailed the new API. According to the company, the Ad Selection API features "robust privacy protections" with K-anonymity constraints, differential privacy, and ad auctions. It also included Trusted Execution Environments for offloading resource-insensitive tasks off the user device without allowing anyone to observe the processed data.

According to Microsoft, the proposed API is "substantially similar" to proposals from other browser manufacturers. Yet, it features several differences that should help the web ecosystem move to privacy-preserving ads. Everyone can check out the detailed overview of the API on GitHub.

Microsoft supports the overall idea of phasing out third-party cookies. However, the company also recognizes the importance of the gradual approach and close monitoring of how changes impact the industry. Therefore, Microsoft wants to test the Ad Selection app and receive as much feedback as possible to see whether the ecosystem is ready for a change.

Microsoft will start experimenting with deprecating third-party cookies in the coming months, starting with roughly 1% of all Microsoft Edge users. The company says that it will help measure and evaluate various impacts on consumers and partners. Although managed devices will not be affected by the experiment, Microsoft recommends commercial customers test the Ad Selection API on their public and internal websites.

If you want to participate, head to edge://flags and find the "Test Third Party Cookie Phaseout" flag. Set it to "Enable," then restart the browser.

The third-party cookie phaseout flag in Microsoft Edge

You can send your feedback to Microsoft by pressing Alt + Shift + I.

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