• Benjamin Bruarøy


Updated: Dec 27, 2019

Cookies are small documents with information. These documents get saved on your computer after visiting websites.

Information these cookies contain can be what kind of links on the website you’ve clicked on, what language you prefer to read the website in, or what items you put in your shopping cart if it’s a web-shop.

With these cookies saved on your computer, websites can access these files the next time you enter the website, and the items you put in your shopping cart is saved. It can remember the language you chose, and so on. What’s getting saved in these cookies are chosen by the website owners, and each cookie document is only relevant to that one specific website. Each website has its own cookie document. Analyzing these documents can be very useful, since you get a lot of information about your visitors.

More and more information is being saved into cookies these days, as businesses have understood the importance of user information. In the “old days of cookies”, only a small amount of data was gathered. Today, websites are saving so much information about its users, that they actually exceed the cookie space limit. They now have to save the cookie information as small codes, that can be identified in their own systems. This makes it possible to gather almost unlimited quantities of information, as the cookie is more like an identifier than a information-document.

Since a cookie-document only can be read by the website it came from, you would think that limits the capabilities of cookies. That’s actually not the case, since website that runs adds, are connected to other websites, which again have its own cookie-document. This is called “third-party-cookies” and can be very effective when advertising. If I’ve searched on green sweatpants on google, and visited clothing shops online and searched for green sweatpants, I may get an advertisement for green sweatpants when I’m entering an online newspaper. The online newspaper itself doesn’t know this information about me, but the websites I’ve left my “green sweatpants traces” do. Since this newspaper are running an ad, they are connected to this other website that knows my information, and can provide the relevant ad for me, even if I’m not on that website anymore.

Some people may think that big companies are collecting too much information about them, and turn off cookies in their browser. Cookies can actually have some good benefits, and if you’re not allowing your browser to use cookies, you will miss it. If you were to buy a product online and didn’t allow cookies, you would not get ads of potential better deals in the same category. You would also miss the feature of the shopping cart saving your products. That means you have to do all your shopping in one session, you can’t add items to cart and expect them to be there when you close the browser. The brains behind these services are cookies. Many e-commerce sites have special deals for logged in customers. If you don’t allow cookies, you would have to log in each time you opened the web browser. Not only on the e-commerce website but on every social media, mail or any website that requires a login. Cookies make our lives on the web easier.

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© 2019 by Benjamin Bruarøy.