What is a Cookie?
You’re probably seeing these everywhere on websites and just accepting them! – I know I do it without even thinking. Well that made me think that we probably all do it. But what really are these Cookies, they sound good but are they?
So without going too techie here, a Cookie is simply a very basic text file downloaded onto your computer, phone or tablet. The file includes the website address and also information about you as a user – it generates a unique user id for you. It’s such a clever cookie!!!
When you visit that specific website again it knows you’ve already been to that website. This allows companies to tailor their website to you because they know information about you already.
Generally a cookie will store a website name and ID for you but it can also store a heap of other goodness. For instance it can store the amount of time you spend on a site, the links you click, the options and preferences you choose, accounts you login to, items in your shopping cart and it keeps a record of pages visited in the past.
A website with a shopping cart will remember what you have in your cart and store the information before checking out.
Social sites like Facebook can track what you click on and then show you more relevant links in the future. Ever clicked on a website and click on a link then go to another website and then that same thing you clicked on in the last website appears….. freaky huh!
Cookies are generally used to improve the users experience.
Why are you seeing them so much?
Back in May the EU changed the laws on how companies collect data and introduced the GDPR. Which means that companies need to get your consent before collecting data about you. If a cookie can identify you by your device then companies need your consent.
So if you don’t want a cookie to store information about you then just say NO!
However some companies won’t let you use their website if you don’t accept them collecting cookies. The website just won’t work properly. It’s weird! – but that is on the minor end of the scale. You will still be able to access a majority of the internet.
The best thing about accepting cookies is that you will have a better experience online seeing more relevant information that you like.