date: 29 November 2018
Cookies have a wide back and are often assigned wrongly to functions or properties that they do not have. In this article, we will see what cookies are made of, what are their purpose and how they facilitate our web browsing every day.
A cookie is a file that our web browser (explorer, chrome or safari for example) saves on our computer or our mobile device. It’s not a virus or spyware, and it cannot attack our system (phew!). It’s rather a text file, which contains only text. Cookies are generated by the servers of the websites we visit. This is what allows them to recognize us from one visit to another. But for what purpose?
Imagine this: you enter a restaurant, the waiter welcomes you and offers a table at the window or a place at the bar. You opt for the bar. He then asks you “mineral or sparkling water?”, to which you answer “sparkling”. A week later, you return to this restaurant. The same waiter welcomes you and, without asking any questions, leads you to the counter and serves you a bottle of sparkling water. Magic? No, cookie.
Here are some examples of things that a site can “remember” about us through a cookie:
« A cookie allows us to resume navigation on a site where we left it. »
Of course, brands and companies are very good at knowing our preferences, our browsing habits and certain information such as our zip code, age, and gender. A cookie allows a website’ administrator to know which section of his site generates the most traffic, how much time users spend on each page and which link, article or image they click on. All of this data is scrutinized by a company’s marketing department to plan the next strategy.
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