What are cookies? They are text-based files that track your internet usage. They help eCommerce website owners remember the contents of your shopping cart if you leave the site and return; they enable Google analytics to track usage; they ensure that you don’t have to repeatedly enter log-ins and that personal website preferences are remembered on subsequent visits.
They’re pretty innocuous, really. Yet in 2011/2012 regulators decided that cookies were infringing on people’s privacy and therefore websites should have to ask permission to use them. Most websites complied, the change in the law created confusion amongst internet users; and ultimately the only effect the average internet user ever actually noticed was that their browsing experience got worse.
I’m not sure anyone noticed an improvement in any way; not privacy, usability or aesthetic.
Now the very same regulators (the ICO) have retracted their law – after costing small businesses time and money in compliance tactics (not to mention lost opportunities for analytics data) – and things are going back to the way they were.
The insightful guys over at SiteBeam.net in Derby created an infographic that says it all: