Google confirms controversial Chrome ad blocker plans

The company will wield even more power than it already does

Aatif Sulleyman
Thursday 29 June 2017 13:40 BST
There are fears that Google could use the ad blocker to protect its own interests
There are fears that Google could use the ad blocker to protect its own interests

Google has confirmed it is adding an ad blocker to Chrome in early 2018.

The controversial plans have been rumoured for weeks, and the company has now shared concrete details about them.

Google makes the vast majority of its revenue from advertising, and there has been concern that the company will take great care to protect its own interests.

However, Google says its technology will penalise non-compliant ads even if they’re “owned or served” by Google itself. The company, of course, will ensure its ads don't fall foul of the rules.

“It's far too common that people encounter annoying, intrusive ads on the web – like the kind that blare music unexpectedly, or force you to wait 10 seconds before you can see the content on the page,” wrote Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s senior vice president of ads and commerce, in a blog post.

“These frustrating experiences can lead some people to block all ads – taking a big toll on the content creators, journalists, web developers and videographers who depend on ads to fund their content creation.”

Google’s ad blocker will only target adverts that the Coalition for Better Ads – a group Google is a member of – considers to be “unacceptable”.

For mobile users, the Coalition for Better Ads says pop-up ads, prestitial ads (those that block the content you actually want to access by loading first), pages with more than 30 per cent ad density, flashing animations, poststitial ads that require a countdown to dismiss, full-screen rollover ads, large sticky ads and auto-playing videos with sound are “least preferred”.

On desktop, the “least preferred” list includes cut to pop-up ads, auto-playing videos with sound, prestitial ads with a countdown and large sticky ads.

Publishers can find out if their ads are compliant by using the Ad Experience Report, which is designed to help them spot and fix issues.

Chrome is the world’s most popular browser, and the introduction of a Google-built ad blocker will give the company an immense amount of power over the web.

However, blocking irritating ads will definitely improve the user experience, and should also help web pages load faster.

“We believe these changes will ensure all content creators, big and small, can continue to have a sustainable way to fund their work with online advertising,” added Mr Ramaswamy.

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