What are cookies?
"Web Cookie" was derived from the term "Magic Cookie", which is a packet of data that a program receives and sends back unchanged. This was derived from "Fortune Cookie", which a crisp and sugary cookie wafer made with a piece of paper containing information - typically a vague prophecy or lucky numbers. You'll associate fortune cookies with Chinese takeaway, but they actually originate from 19th-century Japan.
A cookie is a small text file that a site stores on your device when you visit the site. The site can then access that file whilst you are on the site. Cookies are necessary for a site to remember you as you navigate through it's pages.
Web browsers support cookies, which allows the site to store information about your visit. The site can then use the information to tailor and improve the users experience. It also enables them to collect an aggregate set of usage statistics.
Let's say you spend some time watching car reviews and funny cat videos on YouTube. You close your computer and come back to YouTube the next day. You're already logged in, you can see which videos you watched yesterday, and resume them from the exact second that you stopped watching. Your feed has been refreshed with suggestions of similar content, including videos of cats driving cars.
Cookies save the products in your cart. They remember your password and your shipping address. They authenticate that it's you accessing sensitive information. They maintain your visual and audio preferences, such as light or dark mode.
Sites are required by law to ask your permission to store bits of data in the form of cookies.
There are occasions where you might want to reject cookies, like when you're entering personal information such as your social security number or bank details, or when you don't recognise or trust the site.
Generally, they are useful, convenient, and harmless, so it's good to "Accept Cookies" in most cases.
If you made it through this post, reward yourself with a proper cookie. Soft oatmeal & raisin with cinnamon and a cup of tea for me. What's your go to? 🤤
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