Google has again delayed the cookie switch-off in Chrome; and it’s no real surprise. The official statementcites delays reconciling feedback from the industry, regulators and developers, and we can all imagine the work involved in moving from 99% availability to total wipe-out in just 12 months. Fair enough.

But another, more powerful process is underway which should notnow be delayed, nor stopped – and that is, the earnest search for better solutions. Delays or no delays, the industry is now moving in a different direction, fueled further by the small yet significant 1% switch-off back in January.

Over the past years and months, adversity has pulled the industry together in a way not seen since the dawn of programmatic 30 years ago. Leading minds from different areas of the ecosystem have been collaborating; moving laterally in order to push boundaries, connect dots, and find different and better ways of doing things.

Exciting new partnerships and capabilities have been hatching, and fledgling new solutions are being tested which are actually proving to be as effective, if not more effective, than third-party cookies.

One particular area of progress is the advancement of the durable ID framework – which is now a growing reality thanks to some excellent lateral thinking. When properly executed, a combination of first-party data, consented durable IDs, and AI tools which can model and scale these signals, is an effective tactic for finding relevant new audiences across the open web.

Real innovations such as these will complement the solutions emerging from Privacy Sandbox and offer viable solutions beyond the Google suite; great news for quality publishers as well as those with a real interest in a thriving ad-funded open internet.

In the past, Google delays have led to advertisers relaxing back into their old ways. But in the past, we hadn’t made this much progress and the frameworks didn’t exist to move forward.

So irrespective of what Google does or doesn’t do next, we may be past the point of return. We should stick to this path because the new alternatives are really good – and as an industry, we are more prepared than we might think.

Ryan McBride is Chief Strategy Officer at illuma