How Google uses cookies – Privacy & Terms – Google (2022)

This page describes the types of cookies and other technologies used by Google. It also explains how Google and our partners use cookies in advertising.

Cookies are small pieces of text sent to your browser by a website that you visit. They help that website remember information about your visit, which can both make it easier to visit the site again and make the site more useful to you. Other technologies, including unique identifiers used to identify a browser, app or device, pixels and local storage, can also be used for these purposes. Cookies and other technologies as described throughout this page can be used for the purposes described below.

See the privacy policy to learn how we protect your privacy in our use of cookies and other information.

(Video) What Are Cookies? And How They Work | Explained for Beginners!

Some or all of the cookies or other technologies described below may be stored in your browser, app or device. To manage how cookies are used, including rejecting the use of certain cookies, you can visit g.co/privacytools. You can also manage cookies in your browser (though browsers for mobile devices may not offer this visibility). Other technologies used to identify apps and devices may be managed in your device settings or in an app’s settings.

Functionality

Cookies and other technologies used for functionality allow you to access features that are fundamental to a service. Things considered fundamental to a service include preferences, such as your choice of language, information relating to your session, such as the content of a shopping basket, and product optimisations that help maintain and improve that service.

Some cookies and other technologies are used to maintain your preferences. For example, most people who use Google services have a cookie called ‘NID’ or ‘ENID’ in their browsers, depending on their cookies choices. These cookies are used to remember your preferences and other information, such as your preferred language, how many results you prefer to have shown on a search results page (for example, 10 or 20) and whether you want to have Google’s SafeSearch filter turned on. Each ‘NID’ cookie expires 6 months from a user’s last use, while the ‘ENID’ cookie lasts for 13 months. Cookies called ‘VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE’ and ‘YEC’ serve a similar purpose for YouTube and are also used to detect and resolve problems with the service. These cookies last for 6 months and for 13 months, respectively.

Other cookies and technologies are used to maintain and enhance your experience during a specific session. For example, YouTube uses the ‘PREF’ cookie to store information such as your preferred page configuration and playback preferences like explicit auto-play choices, shuffle content and player size. For YouTube Music, these preferences include volume, repeat mode and auto-play. This cookie expires eight months from a user’s last use. The cookie ‘pm_sess’ also helps maintain your browser session and lasts for 30 minutes.

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Cookies and other technologies may also be used to improve the performance of Google services. For example, the ‘CGIC’ cookie improves the delivery of search results by autocompleting search queries based on a user’s initial input. This cookie lasts for six months.

Google uses the ‘CONSENT’ cookie, which lasts for two years, to store a user’s state regarding their cookies choices. Another cookie, ‘SOCS’, lasts for 13 months and is also used to store a user’s state regarding their cookies choices.

Security

Cookies and other technologies used for security help to authenticate users, prevent fraud and protect you as you interact with a service.

The cookies and other technologies used to authenticate users help ensure that only the actual owner of an account can access that account. For example, cookies called ‘SID’ and ‘HSID’ contain digitally signed and encrypted records of a user’s Google Account ID and most recent sign-in time. The combination of these cookies allows Google to block many types of attack, such as attempts to steal the content of forms submitted in Google services.

Some cookies and other technologies are used to prevent spam, fraud and abuse. For example, the ‘pm_sess’, ‘YSC’ and ‘AEC’ cookies ensure that requests within a browsing session are made by the user, and not by other sites. These cookies prevent malicious sites from acting on behalf of a user without that user’s knowledge. The ‘pm_sess’ cookie lasts for 30 minutes, while the ‘AEC’ cookie lasts for 6 months. The ‘YSC’ cookie lasts for the duration of a user’s browsing session.

Analytics

Cookies and other technologies used for analytics help collect data that allows services to understand how you interact with a particular service. These insights allow services to both improve content and build better features that enhance your experience.

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Some cookies and other technologies help sites and apps understand how their visitors engage with their services. For example, Google Analytics uses a set of cookies to collect information and report site usage statistics without personally identifying individual visitors to Google. ‘_ga’, the main cookie used by Google Analytics, enables a service to distinguish one visitor from another and lasts for two years. Any site that implements Google Analytics, including Google services, uses the ‘_ga’ cookie. Each ‘_ga’ cookie is unique to the specific property, so it cannot be used to track a given user or browser across unrelated websites.

Google services also use ‘NID’ and ‘ENID’ cookies on Google Search, and ‘VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE’ and ‘YEC’ cookies on YouTube, for analytics.

Advertising

Google uses cookies and other technologies for advertising, including serving and rendering ads, personalising ads (depending on your settings at g.co/adsettings or your app and device level settings), limiting the number of times that an ad is shown to a user, muting ads that you have chosen to stop seeing and measuring the effectiveness of ads.

The ‘NID’ cookie is used to show Google ads in Google services for signed-out users, while the ‘ANID’ and ‘IDE’ cookies are used to show Google ads on non-Google sites. If you have personalised ads enabled, the ‘ANID’ cookie is used to remember this setting and lasts for 13 months in the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK), and 24 months everywhere else. If you have turned off personalised ads, the ‘ANID’ cookie is used to store that setting until 2030. The ‘NID’ cookie expires six months after a user’s last use. The ‘IDE’ cookie lasts for 13 months in the European Economic Area (EEA), Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK), and 24 months everywhere else.

Depending on your ad settings, other Google services, such as YouTube, may also use these and other cookies and technologies, such as the ‘VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE’ cookie, for advertising.

Some cookies and other technologies used for advertising are for users who sign in to use Google services. For example, the ‘DSID’ cookie is used to identify a signed-in user on non-Google sites and to remember whether the user has agreed to ad personalisation. It lasts for two weeks.

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Through Google’s advertising platform, businesses can advertise in Google services, as well as on non-Google sites. Some cookies support Google showing ads on third-party sites and are set in the domain of the website that you visit. For example, the ‘_gads’ cookie enables sites to show Google ads. Cookies that start with ‘_gac_’ come from Google Analytics and are used by advertisers to measure user activity and the performance of their ad campaigns. The ‘_gads’ cookies last for 13 months and the ‘_gac_’ cookies last for 90 days.

Some cookies and other technologies are used to measure ad and campaign performance and conversion rates for Google ads on a site that you visit. For example, cookies that start with ‘_gcl_’ are primarily used to help advertisers determine how many times users who click on their ads end up taking an action on their site, such as making a purchase. Cookies used for measuring conversion rates are not used to personalise ads. ‘_gcl_’ cookies last for 90 days.

See more information about cookies used for advertising here.

Personalisation

Cookies and other technologies used for personalisation enhance your experience by providing personalised content and features, depending on your settings at g.co/privacytools or your app and device settings.

Personalised content and features include things such as more relevant results and recommendations, a customised YouTube homepage and ads that are tailored to your interests. For example, the ‘VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE’ cookie may enable personalised recommendations on YouTube based on past views and searches. And the ‘NID’ cookie enables personalised autocomplete features in Search as you type search terms. These cookies expire six months after a user’s last use. Another personalisation cookie, ‘UULE’, sends precise location information from your browser to Google’s servers so that Google can show you results that are relevant to your location. The use of this cookie depends on your browser settings and whether you have chosen to have location turned on for your browser. The ‘UULE’ cookie lasts up to six hours.

Non-personalised content and features are distinct from personalised content and features insofar as they are influenced by things like the content that you’re currently viewing, your current Google search and your general location.

(Video) How cookies can track you (Simply Explained)

FAQs

What is Google doing with cookies? ›

Google announced at the beginning of 2020 their plans to remove third-party cookies for Google Chrome. Chrome is the most common browser with over 63% of the market share globally. Advertisers and publishers were concerned if Google would have a plan to replace cookie tracking technology in Chrome.

Can cookies see what you Google? ›

Tracking cookies can record all kinds of information: search queries, purchases, device information, location, when and where you saw previous advertisements, how many times you've seen an ad, and what links you click on. All of this and more is collected, often without your consent or knowledge.

How does Google use third-party cookies? ›

Google uses first-party data for user preferences and authentication and third-party cookies for advertising. Some cookies let Google serve ads on third-party sites, measure campaign performance and conversion rates, and personalize content, according to its support page.

How does Google get information from you? ›

It collects data on what videos you watch, the ads you click, your location, device information, and IP address and cookie data. It says it does this to “make [its] services work better for you, which is true: If you block everything you also block Google's ability to show you more content it thinks you'll like.

Why are Google removing cookies? ›

The search giant explained that it pushed back its timeline once again because it needs more time for testing to ensure users' online privacy is protected.

What is Google's solution to the end of cookies? ›

Google's plan to remove third-party cookies from Chrome hasn't gone smoothly. Back in January 2020 the company announced it would overhaul Chrome by removing cookies that follow people around the web within two years.

Can cookies see my browsing history? ›

A website can track which of its own webpages a user has visited, which probably isn't too surprising. However, a website can also track a user's browsing history across other websites by using third-party cookies, as long as each site loads the cookie from the same domain.

Does deleting browsing history delete cookies? ›

Clearing your website visit history is simple: click History > Clear History. In the pop-up, pick a timeframe for how far back you want to erase. This is doing a lot more than deleting the browser history, however—it also takes out your cookies and data cache.

Do cookies track browsing history? ›

What can cookies track? Cookies can track any kind of data about users, such as search and browser history, what websites they previously visited, what they googled earlier, their IP addresses, their on-site behavior such as scrolling speed, where they clicked and where their mouse hovered.

Why is Google blocking my searches? ›

Why sites are blocked. Google checks the pages that it indexes for malicious scripts or downloads, content violations, policy violations, and many other quality and legal issues that can affect users.

Does Google share information with third parties? ›

Data won't be shared unless you give permission. You can remove access at any time. You may need to request that the third party delete the data they already have. Google does not share your Google Account password with the third-party app or service.

What cookies does Google Analytics use? ›

The Google Analytics JavaScript libraries use HTTP cookies to "remember" what a user has done on previous pages / interactions with the website. Note: Read the Google Analytics privacy document for more details about the data collected by Google Analytics.

Does Google listen to my conversations? ›

If it surprises you that Google is always listening to you, Google offers acceptable reasons for keeping the microphone on your mobile device open. The OK Google feature on your phone needs to recognize the words “okay Google” when you speak them. Google Assistant needs to recognize whenever you ask for help.

How long does Google keep deleted history? ›

Complete deletion of data from our servers is equally important for users' peace of mind. This process generally takes around 2 months from the time of deletion. This often includes up to a month-long recovery period in case the data was removed unintentionally.

How does Google use my data? ›

Google uses the information shared by sites and apps to deliver our services, maintain and improve them, develop new services, measure the effectiveness of advertising, protect against fraud and abuse, and personalize content and ads you see on Google and on our partners' sites and apps.

Why are all websites asking about cookies 2022? ›

Websites have become more focused on asking you to accept cookies. The reason reflects a data privacy protection law that governs online data tracking and transparency. This data privacy law is known as the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which became enforceable in May 2018.

Are cookies becoming illegal? ›

As it stands, Google Chrome allows third-party cookies by default. However, it was announced at the start of 2021, that Google plans on banning all third-party cookies from Google Chrome. This change was originally planned for 2022, but it has now been pushed back to 2023.

Why do so many websites use cookies? ›

Often called tracking cookies, they're used by online advertising networks and data brokers to build profiles of what you do online — sometimes identifying you, sometimes grouping you anonymously with other users with similar characteristics.

What is replacing the cookie? ›

Will it work? In 2021, Google pulled the trigger on its grand plan to get rid of cookies — a fundamental but problematic part of the internet as we know it — and replace them with a new “privacy-first alternative” called Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC.

Are cookies really going away? ›

By 2023, marketers won't be able to track customers using those cookies, in large part because Google is phasing out those trackers on Chrome, as the notorious tracking technology has become unpopular with the public over the years.

How do I remove cookies from Google? ›

Clear all cookies
  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Chrome app .
  2. To the right of the address bar, tap More. Settings.
  3. Tap Privacy and security. Clear browsing data.
  4. Choose a time range, like Last hour or All time.
  5. Check Cookies and site data and uncheck all other items.
  6. Tap Clear data. Clear.

Why are all websites asking about cookies 2022? ›

Websites have become more focused on asking you to accept cookies. The reason reflects a data privacy protection law that governs online data tracking and transparency. This data privacy law is known as the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which became enforceable in May 2018.

What will replace cookies? ›

What are the best alternatives to third party cookies in 2022?
  • Identity solutions.
  • Google's Privacy Sandbox.
  • First party data.
  • Publisher Provided Identifiers (PPIDs)
  • Contextual advertising.
  • Data Pools or Data Clean Rooms.
  • User Identity Graphs.
  • Digital Fingerprinting.
17 Feb 2022

Are cookies being replaced? ›

Will it work? In 2021, Google pulled the trigger on its grand plan to get rid of cookies — a fundamental but problematic part of the internet as we know it — and replace them with a new “privacy-first alternative” called Federated Learning of Cohorts, or FLoC.

Should I remove cookies from Chrome? ›

You definitely should not accept cookies – and delete them if you mistakenly do. Outdated cookies. If a website page has been updated, the cached data in cookies might conflict with the new site. This could give you trouble the next time you try to upload that page.

Should I say yes to cookies? ›

Do you HAVE to accept cookies? Most cookies are really not an issue. They are just used by the website owner so you have a better experience with the site. You can decline the “Accept Cookies” message and most websites will work just fine.

Is it OK to accept cookies? ›

Since the data in cookies doesn't change, cookies themselves aren't harmful. They can't infect computers with viruses or other malware. However, some cyberattacks can hijack cookies and enable access to your browsing sessions. The danger lies in their ability to track individuals' browsing histories.

Why do I keep getting asked to accept cookies? ›

In short, it means companies need to get your explicit consent to collect your data. If a cookie can identify you via your device (which most cookies do), then companies need your consent. That's why you see lots of websites asking for your permission before dumping a cookie on your computer.

Should I block cookies? ›

In the Privacy and Security section, click Content Settings then Cookies. Turning cookies off completely would disable all the features we've talked about so far, not just the tracking ones. So it's advisable to not block them entirely.

Is Apple getting rid of cookies? ›

Google is set to phase out third-party cookies by late 2023. Apple has already blocked many third-party cookies with updates to its Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature (ITP).

How do I stop tracking cookies? ›

Change your cookie settings
  1. On your computer, open Chrome .
  2. At the top right, click More Settings .
  3. Under "Privacy and security," click Cookies and other site data.
  4. Select an option: Allow all cookies. Block all cookies (not recommended). Block third party cookies in Incognito. Block third-party cookies.

How long do browser cookies last? ›

If the website doesn't set the expiry date, the browser will delete the cookie once it's closed. The average lifetime of a cookie is about 30 days, but cookies can also be set to last for over a year.

How can I collect data without cookies? ›

Third-party cookies are blocked, but marketing teams can continue to collect first-party data.
...
Start Gathering First-Party Data
  1. online surveys.
  2. sign-up forms.
  3. newsletters.
  4. community polls.
  5. SMS answers.
  6. mobile notification responses.
  7. direct mail (offline post), etc.

What percentage of people opt out of cookies? ›

The majority (62%) of respondents 18-29 were the most willing to accept all cookies. Meanwhile, those 65+ were the most discerning with 64% saying they do not accept all cookies. More than half (51%) chose additional options or manage their cookies. So, what are they afraid of?

Does deleting cookies delete history? ›

When you delete cookies from your computer, you erase information saved in your browser, including your account passwords, website preferences, and settings. Deleting your cookies can be helpful if you share your computer or device with other people and don't want them to see your browsing history.

Does clearing cookies delete passwords? ›

If you clear cookies then websites won't remember you anymore and you need to login once again. You will still have the passwords in the Profile Manager if you have saved them. Websites remembering you and automatically log you in is stored in a cookie.

What happens if I delete all cookies? ›

Clear all cookies

If you remove cookies, you'll be signed out of websites and your saved preferences could be deleted. Settings. Clear browsing data.

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