Gluu Essentials for iPhone  • Class #4 • Lesson #3 of 9

What is a Cookie?

A cookie is a tiny file dropped onto your device when you visit a website. Cookies contain records of your interaction with that website, including what you’ve clicked on or whether you signed in. Cookies don’t collect personal data from your device, nor do they identify you personally. They only hold the anonymous data created by you during a website visit.

Not all cookies stay forever on your device. Some cookies are deleted when you close your browser or after a period of inactivity, and other cookies automatically expire.

There are two main types of cookies. First-party cookies remember how you like things set up on a website, which saves you some hassle. They also try to locate you physically to display the correct online store or weather report, for instance. First-party cookies remember if you prefer to stay signed in, which ads you’ve seen, and which ads you have clicked on. First-party cookies are set by the website you are visiting.

Sometimes cookies are not set by the website you are directly visiting. They are set by companies that advertise on that website. These are called third-party cookies. These cookies can use your browsing patterns to create an anonymous profile of you. This profile puts you into an audience segment — female 65-69 years old, for instance. Third-party cookies can result in information about how you travel around the internet being shared with third parties.

Using your audience segment information, advertisers deliver ads they think are relevant to you. This is called targeted advertising – it doesn’t identify you personally, and advertisers don’t have any of your personal data. Advertisers are guessing what you and everyone else in your audience segment might be interested in. Without cookies, you would still see ads, but they would be less targeted to you.

By default, Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Protection in its Safari browser purges most first-party cookies after seven days and blocks all third-party cookies. The Firefox Browser does not block first-party cookies by default, but Firefox Enhanced Tracking Protection blocks third-party cookies. Google Chrome blocks third-party cookies after you turn this setting on.

At Gluu, we don’t mind first-party cookies. They make our internet experience better. But we try to avoid being tracked by third-party cookies, and we stick to browsers that do this automatically.

Onward, Ho!

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