Adblock Browser: Android app lets users browse the internet without ever seeing ads

Android app claims to make pages load quicker and more efficiently — but could pose a new risk for companies that rely on ads

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 20 May 2015 14:45 BST

A new browser has been built especially to allow people to browse the internet on Android phones without ever coming into contact with ads.

The Adblock Browser comes pre-installed with special technology that will cut out all ads from visited pages. Adblock Plus — the company that made the browser, as well as a popular Chrome extension — says that the new browser will keep users safe and save them battery power, but it could pose a huge threat to websites that depend on ads for their revenues.

Such technologies have been available to users of desktop browsers for some time. But Adblock Browser makes the first mainstream way to block ads when browsing on mobile devices.

The company says that the browser can drastically reduce the amount of power and data needed to load pages, by blocking off unnecessary parts of sites. The app claims that the sped-up browsing can avoid ads that consume 23 per cent of batteries.

It also says that ad blocking will keep users safer. "Malware often hides behind ads, even on trusted networks," the company writes in its blog post. "Blocking annoying ads reduces your risk of infection, and Adblock Plus has been recommended by Stanford University, UC Santa Barbara and the Electronic Frontier Foundation."

The company said that as advertisers look to move towards showing content to mobile users, the company wanted to head off that danger. They pointed to a recent study that tested 2,146 Android apps and found that they connected to 250,000 different URLs, about 30 per cent of which tracked users.

But adblocking has also caused worry for businesses that rely on ads for their revenues — which is most of the internet, including social networks and media sites.

Adblock Plus's solution to that is partly to offer a whitelisting service, where companies can pay for their ads to be let through so long as they meet certain conditions. But users must turn on "acceptable ads" that have been judged by the company to be nonintrusive.

Users can sign up to Adblock Browsers' beta programme, which will give them access to a special download from the Google Play store.

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