While we’re pretty much all still clinging to them, mobile technology and the desire for greater privacy have combined to pretty much make cookies obsolete. Oh, we’re still using them as much as we can, but the restrictions are becoming obvious very quickly. For example, the EU is cracking down on use of cookies. Major browsers, like Firefox, are focusing on browser privacy and blocking cookies. The odds are stacked against the future of the cookie as a legitimate marketing tool.

So where does the future lie? It’s not surprising to keep the world’s biggest technology company working on the problem. Google is trying to find a happy medium between privacy and tracking; this new technology will focus on measuring behavior without attaching it in any way to a particular user. They are also working to make the technology easier to opt out of than cookies have proved to be.

While many benefit from having targeted ads appear while surfing the web, 2 out of 3 users would still prefer having their privacy over being tracked in order to provide more pertinent marketing content.

In the end, it’s all about trust; people don’t care about the benefits that come from their data being collected and only see the potential for misuse of their personal information. That’s why Google’s new plan is the best of both worlds: Marketers get their data, and users maintain their supposed anonymity to a greater degree (however, don’t they know their ISP is recording their every move anyway?). Everybody wins.

While we loved cookies (and still do—they aren’t completely gone yet), the time to embrace the future is getting closer. Ultimately, measuring direct conversions may be more effective than targeting specific consumers anyway. In the meantime, marketers will have to stay abreast of new technology from Google and other companies in order to remain relevant.