Microsoft plans to throw its hat into the ring of tech giants looking to replace the cookie. Both it and Google are eyeing their own technologies to track people's digital behaviors -- the sites they visit, the apps they use, the videos they watch, etc. Such a cookie replacement would help them better target ads -- as well as give them immense power in the the digital-advertising space. How might the longtime rivals' odds stack up?
Details on Google's plans are scarce, but it would likely retain the current cookie's functionality and apply it to both the desktop and mobile web as well as mobile apps to track a single anonymized user across the various devices.
Chrome desktop and mobile browser, Chrome desktop operating system, tablets and smartphones running Google's Android mobile operating system, Google's network of third-party sites and apps.
Google already sees into the behaviors of billions of internet users through its own properties, including search, YouTube and Gmail, and network of third-party sites. Extending that across desktop and mobile and connecting the currently divided channels would give advertisers the most comprehensive window yet into consumers' digital habits.
Google's online-advertising dominance already makes people wary. Owning digital advertising's central-targeting technology and the data it reaps could re-raise regulatory concerns.
Google's position atop the digital-advertising food chain all but guarantees its cookie replacement will gain traction—assuming the advertising community and regulators are willing to cede the company even more power.