Friday Five: Asos AR and cookie crumble

Zone’s Ross Basham handpicks and shares the five best stories on digital trends, experiences and technologies…

1. Third-party cookies are crumbling in Chrome

Google has announced plans to end support for third-party tracking cookies in Chrome within two years. The move follows in the footsteps of Firefox and Safari, which already block third-party cookies by default in an effort to “fundamentally enhance privacy” for millions of users around the world.

With Chrome accounting for about two-thirds of the market, this move has huge ramifications for advertisers who rely on third-party cookies. But Google says the phased approach will allow it to develop a “healthy, ad-supported web” that doesn’t undermine the business model of advertising.

2. Anti-drone device to track down petty pilots

Heathrow has rolled out a new anti-drone system in a bid to stop irresponsible and/or malicious drone pilots from grounding flights at the airport. The government was forced to introduce a 5km no-fly zone around airports last March after drones caused chaos at Heathrow and Gatwick.

Well, not only will the new Counter Drone system be able to detect and track unauthorised drones, it will also be able to locate the pilot (and give them a sound thrashing, presumably). The new system also aims to assist Heathrow in meeting sustainability targets, as grounded flights cause flight stacking and wasted fuel.

3. Grindr accused of sharing users’ private data

The LGBTQ dating app Grindr has been accused of unlawfully sharing users’ datawith thousands of advertising partners. A study from the Norwegian Consumer Council found that Grindr uses Twitter’s ad subsidiary MoPub to share users’ personal information, including location, age, gender and sexual orientation.

Grindr said it is changing its consent platform, while Twitter has disabled Grindr’s MoPub account. If found guilty Grindr could face a huge fine (up to 4% of its global annual revenue), but that won’t change the fact that advertisers now hold private — and potentially harmful — data about millions of LGBTQ users without their consent.

4. Asos using AR to show shoppers their style

Asos is trialling a new augmented reality tool that will show customers simulated views of how garments will look in different sizes and on different body types. The online retailer has partnered with Israeli firm Zeekit to build the See My Fit tool, with 800 dresses on models sized 4–18 involved in the trial.

Asos originally piloted a similar initiative back in March 2018 on just four different models — See My Fit is an extension of that service. Asos has also introduced Fit Assistant, which uses machine learning to deliver personalised sizing recommendations, and another AR experience, Virtual Catwalk.

5. Heston bites back at snap-happy diners

Heston Blumenthal has weighed in on the age-old (well, decade-old) debate about diners taking pictures of their food to upload to social media. Fellow chef Michel Roux banned photos at his restaurant in 2017, but Heston has resisted following suit, despite admitting his unease at diners whipping out their smartphones.

While it’s a good point to suggest people should ‘live in the moment’ rather than behind a screen (and don’t get me started on people who film at gigs), taking a quick snap of your snail porridge seems fair enough, particularly when you’ve paid £300 for the privilege. Just don’t complain if it goes cold while you’re choosing a filter.

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