Google Begin Testing FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) in Chrome
Google announced it has begun testing FLoC, Federated Learning of Cohorts, in Chrome. Specifically, the FLoC origin trial in Chrome 89 will work on websites that don’t opt-out of it. Google said that the initial testing of FLoC is taking place with a small percentage of users in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, and the U.S. Google also said that it will expand to other regions as the trial expands globally.
What is FLoC?
FLoC is a method for browsers to enable interest-based advertising. It works by gathering data about a user’s browsing habits and then clustering groups of users with similar interests into cohorts. The algorithm used to develop those cohorts may look at the URLs of sites that the user visited and the content of those pages, among other factors, according to the FLoC proposal on GitHub. Information about the cohort is then shared for advertising purposes.
According to Google statement “a new piece of web technology – Federated Learning of Cohorts – will start to roll out as a developer origin trial in Chrome. Keeping in mind the importance of “and,” FLoC is a new approach to interest-based advertising that both improves privacy and gives publishers a tool they need for viable advertising business models. Federated Learning of Cohorts is still in development and we expect it to evolve based on input from the web community and learnings from this initial trial.”
Why Do We Need FLoC?
Many businesses rely on advertising to drive traffic to their sites, and many publisher websites fund content by selling advertising inventory. People generally prefer to see ads that are relevant and useful to them, and relevant ads also bring more business to advertisers and more revenue to the websites that host them. In other words, ad space is more valuable when it displays relevant ads. Thus, selecting relevant ads increases revenue for ad-supported websites. That, in turn, means that relevant ads help fund content creation that benefits users.
How Does Federated Learning of Cohorts Works?
The example below describes the different roles in selecting an ad using FLoC.
Google has announced that it expects to start testing Federated Learning of Cohorts-based cohorts with advertisers beginning in Q2 of this year. There are more details on how this works over here.