Google reportedly building ad-blocker into Chrome

The Verge

The Verge

While ad-blockers may be the most popular extensions for Chrome on the desktop or your Chromebook, the Android app has been left out of the picture.

Google experimented with generating income without showing display and banner ads on publisher sites in the United States. Today Chrome covers over 50 percent of the browsing market, according to Net Market Share, and Google would kill its income if it started blocking Google ads.

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In other words, this is could not only just be a quality of life update for Chrome users, but a crafty power play by Google to edge out competition that is growing exponentially as ads become more and more depended on in the digital media space. The Coalition for Better Ads, which counts Google and Facebook among its members, has a page of "least preferred ad experiences" up on its website.

As for what ads would be deemed unacceptable, the report claims that Google would include things such as pop-ups, auto-playing video ads with sound, and "prestitial" ads with countdown timers. If it does, though, the ad-blocker will look at the types of advertisements a website is delivering and judge whether they meet an acceptable standard. The details aren't finalized yet, according to the sources, who say there's still a chance Google will choose not to release the feature. Google already ostensibly bans many of these types of ads anyway.

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Blocking ads, then, would seem counterintuitive for Google. There are lots of them out there, but building a blocker into Chrome could help give Google some control over the ad-blocking experience since some folks may opt for the blocker built into Chrome rather than using a third-party service. Were it to be widely adopted, the company would also be the arbiter of all ads people see. With a launch of the filter Google could entice users to stick with Google's option as opposed to finding and installing any number of other ad blockers which tend to filter out everything.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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