Opera Adds Native Ad Blocking To Desktop Browser

Opera says web pages can load 90 percent faster without an ad blocker and 40 percent faster than third party extensions

Opera has become the first major PC web browser developer to include native ad blocking, claiming web pages can load up to 90 percent faster than without any tools activated.

The company says that because ad blocking is done at a web engine level, its tool is 40 percent faster than third party browser extensions on the likes of Chrome and Firefox.

Many use ad blockers because they find ads intrusive while others believe some creatives slow down system performance, use excessive amounts of data and reduce battery life, while others hold security fears. A number of advertising networks have been used to launch malvertising attacks in recent times.

Opera ad blocking

Opera Ad Block 2Opera says it is not against advertising as such, it wants publishers to recognise the impact bloated ads have on web speeds, privacy and security and use more efficient, safer creatives.

“Advertising fuels the internet, allowing for many services to be free for users. But, as our new research shows, most webpages today are significantly slowed down by bloated ads and heavy tracking. We don’t accept it – we want the web to be a better place for us all, as users,” said Krystian Kolondra, senior vice president of engineering and head of Opera for computers.

The tool, which will first be added to the Opera developed edition is disabled by default, but the browser will suggest activation if it detects ads that can be blocked.

It will also provide stats on the impact on page loading times and number of blocked ads, providing information to users, developers and publishers. Users can also activate or deactivate the tool for individual websites.

“We are the first major browser vendor to integrate an ad-blocking feature, but this development should be a no surprise to anyone given the rising popularity of ad-blocking software and even Apple allowing it on its platform.

Changing behaviour

“Today, bloated online ads use more download bandwidth than ever, causing webpages to load more slowly, at times covering the content that you’re trying to see or trying to trick you into clicking ‘fake download buttons’. Another rising concern is privacy and tracking of your online behaviour.

“This is why, together with the native ad-blocking feature, we also provide a tool to help advertisers and users understand the problem of heavy ads. We believe this will accelerate the change that the ad industry needs to pursue.”

Research from the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK) suggests one in five British adults use ad blocking, but would be less likely to do so if adverts didn’t interfere with what they were doing. However nearly two thirds claimed they prefer free, ad-supported content to a subscription-based model.

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale has suggested the government might step in to aid publishers in their battle against ad blocking software amid rising concerns within the industry.

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