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Re: discussion on FLOC performance?

From: Wendy Seltzer <wseltzer@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2021 08:54:23 -0500
To: Arnaud Blanchard <arnaud.blanchard.87@gmail.com>, public-web-adv@w3.org
Message-ID: <4e7c1fde-e598-5946-5100-cebc2aa41a12@w3.org>
Hi Arnaud and group,

I'll invite the Google Ads team to respond to questions about their
experiment. For the agenda, I'd also like to invite a broader discussion
of data useful to the work of improving web advertising and performance.
Are there other use cases and needs we should be documenting?


On 2/15/21 4:59 AM, Arnaud Blanchard wrote:
> Hi Wendy and group, 
> We would like to put FLoC's performance level discussion to the agenda to ideally get:- More details about the test objectives (metrics; dimensions; etc.)
> - More technical details about the creation of the FLoC (FLoC size; FLoC assignment detailed methodology)
> - External communication clarification
> 2 sessions ago, there were many interesting points raised around Google's recent communication pieces about FLoC performance compared to 3rd cookies. In particular, the idea that FLoC would retain 95% of the performance brought by third party cookies seemed to draw particular attention from the community. Then, someone from Google Ads said that they would share the analysis this figure was drawn from with some details.
> If I am not mistaken, the only publication so far consists of this brief explainer:  https://github.com/google/ads-privacy/blob/master/proposals/FLoC/Floc-live-experiments.md. It does bring some clarifications, such as the fact that the experiment concerned a very narrow use case ('audience targeting' based on Google taxonomy), with some others explicitly out of scope (remarketing, others vendors taxonomies). 
> However, despite Google's reassurance that the AB test was conducted in the best conditions, and with sound analytical methodology - which we have no reason to doubt - we still miss a lot of details that would allow everyone to understand how FLoC would impact their products (flock sizes, proprietary taxonomy impact, etc). 
> Stating that 95% of the performance is preserved without stating the particular use case it was measured against implies that Google Chrome's FLoC will be considered as good as long as it allows emulation of Google Ads proprietary taxonomy. I hope this is not the case, and I assume this was not the intention of the analysis, but that what it looks like. 
> All in all, this 95% number is an overstatement that does convey a misleading idea to the public. In my opinion, the whole group, and the FLoC project itself, would seriously benefit from a broader, more detailed clarification. 
> Thank you very much in advance,
> Arnaud Blanchard

Wendy Seltzer -- wseltzer@w3.org +1.617.715.4883 (office)
Strategy Lead and Counsel, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
https://wendy.seltzer.org/        +1.617.863.0613 (mobile)
Received on Wednesday, 17 February 2021 13:54:26 UTC

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