Google Switches On Chrome Ad Blocker

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Bad news publishers? Chrome web browser now enables its ad blocker to prevent annoying and “intrusive” ads

Google has fired a potentially serious salvo at online publishers after its Chrome web browser began its crackdown on intrusive adverts.

The Chrome browser will from Thursday begin blocking adverts that are deemed to be annoying or otherwise detrimental to users.

It comes after Google in June last year announced it was building an ad blocker into its Chrome web browser to help improve the user experience by combating annoying and intrusive online advertisements.

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Better Ads

Google said it follow the ‘Better Ads Standards‘ as determined by the Coalition for Better Ads, as to which adverts it will block.

The Coalition for Better Ads is an industry group that aims to improve user experience with online advertising. Google, Facebook, New Corp and others are members.

“The most intrusive ad experiences include prestitial ads (those full-page ads that block you from seeing the content on the page) and flashing animated ads,” blogged Chris Bentzel, Chrome’s engineering manager, citing a survey of 40,000 US and European web users.

Essentially, what will happen going forward is that Google will apply the ‘Better Ads Standards’ when it is deciding what adverts to block.

Websites will have 30 days to remove disruptive ads before blocking begins.

“Chrome will automatically block ads on sites that fail the Better Ads Standards,” he wrote. “When at least one network request has been blocked, Chrome will show the user a message indicating that ad blocking has occurred as well as an option to disable this setting by selecting ‘allow ads on this site.’”

Bentzel insisted that it was not Google’s intention to filter adverts, but is rather a way to get websites and online publishers to fix or remove intrusive adverts.

“We’re encouraged by early results showing industry shifts away from intrusive ad experiences, and look forwarding to continued collaboration with the industry toward a future where Chrome’s ad filtering technology will not be needed,” concluded Bentzel.

Necessary Evil?

Over the last three years, ad blocking quickly turned into big business, as web users grow increasingly frustrated at the increasing prevalence of pop-ups and video ads on their favourite sites.

However, the uptake of ad blocking software has slowed in recent times as consumers have recognised the need for advertising to pay for their continued access to free online content.

The British government had in 2016 suggested it could be prepared to help content creators and publishers in their battle against ad blockers.

And Facebook has also previously warned that it would override ad blockers, but promised to give its users more control over what type of advertisements they see on the social network.

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