In February, Google released a new Chrome update which featured a long-overdue change in how cookies were managed in the browser. Called “SameSite” the change made third-party cookies – unless explicitly set by a website owner as being okay – as being automatically blocked by Chrome, cookies which used to be instantly approved.
It was a welcome change as it focused more on data privacy and ensured that third-party companies weren’t collecting data maliciously on their sites. It’s unfortunately a feature that the company has announced it will temporarily be rolling back as a result of the current COVID-19 outbreak.
The issue at hand is that while many large sites were already supporting the change, other sites were fundamentally breaking as a result of it and with Google wanting to rather ensure the stability of the internet at this time rather than cause some important sites to not work as expected, they will be removing these features up until a yet unspecified time where they feel more companies and sites have been tweaked to allow for SameSite. One can only assume that some sites deemed as essential like banking, online groceries, government services and healthcare were among those breaking, thus prompted this rollback from Google.
I guess given that many companies have fewer resources at their disposal at the moment and that there are other bigger issues at hand, it makes sense for Google to do this, even if it does open users up to some risk from third-party cookies.
Last Updated: April 6, 2020