How Google Chrome's Ad Blocker Will Work

Editor's Note: This story has been updated after a second report confirming the likelihood of the ad-blocker.

Now here's one we didn't see coming. Google, the biggest advertising company on the web, is building an ad blocker right into its Chrome web browser.

Image Credit: Evan Lorne /

(Image credit: Image Credit: Evan Lorne /

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Chrome's baked-in ad blocker will be activated by default on both the web and mobile versions of the browser, automatically disabling advertisements that Google deems as a bad user experience. This includes pop-up ads, auto-play videos and ads that feature a countdown timer before you're able to click out of them.

In some cases, Google may even block all ads on a site, provided that it's guilty of one or more of the above violations.

The new feature is set to arrive in 2018, and prior to that Google will give publishers a tool named Ad Experience Reports that will help detect these problematic ads and explain how to fix them. Google has yet to formally announce the feature, but the Journal reports that the search company has briefed publishers and online ad firms about the change in the recent weeks, and that timing could change.

MORE: What's the Best Windows 10 Browser?

Google is reportedly calling the new feature a filter, and not a blocker, and is positioning it as similar to how it warns users before allowing them to navigate to pages that may contain malware.

So why is a massive advertising company like Google build its own ad blocker? For starters, the search giant may simply be looking to encourage websites to embrace better advertising practices and provide a better overall experience for users.

Secondly, Google could be looking to squash out the plethora of third-party ad blockers all over the web. According to the WSJ report, about 26 percent of U.S. internet users employ ad blockers — some of which cost money to use. If Chrome, which comprises nearly half of all browser use, can block ads for you, why download a separate program?

If this feature does in fact arrive, it could significantly affect the way tons of websites do business; particularly the ones that rely on ad revenue to survive. But Google seems keenly aware of the reasons why most folks use ad blockers, and making a move like this could ensure that your favorite websites remain free of dancing ads and auto-playing videos.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

  • SammyFan
    Awesome news - Between popups and immediate audio I can't decide which I hate more
  • velocityg4
    Here's looking at you Toms and your autoplay JWPlayer/JWMedia ads. Only uMatrix seems to stop them as it knocks out all scripts. Adblock and Adblock Plus sometimes work. You can add the JWPlayer manually. It only works temporarily. Then eventually get around the adblocker again.
  • strangepork
    anything that stops bleacher reports deafening autoplay vids is good for freedom and democracy.
  • Shaggy2286
    Good, these advertisers have gone too far and now they get what's coming to them! Every so often I turn off my ad blocker to see if things have changed and am instantly bombarded by everything from distracting video to noises and annoying poppups that NO ONE, with half a brain, reads let alone puts in their email. >_< Then you get the "You have a virus, DL this malware now and we'll fix it!" or "Please Download browser update" <-ransomware/virus.

    Ad providers just don't screen ads for good morals before allowing them to publish and they wonder why so many people are dead set on blocking ads. It is bad enough VIAGRA and similar companies pay jackasses to spam our e-mails and cable TV has endless commercials that will be the death of them. Now we get the same crap on every website. Install Disconnect or a similar browser app and see how many services there are on any one website doing everything from analytics to sending some random website information on what products you clicked on so they can better TRICK YOU into buying something later. Don't let the seemingly beneficial targeted ads fool you, it is all so they can better get you to buy their stuff.

    That's just from computer browsers! On a phone it feels like I'm trying to read a book covered with newspaper ads. How the heck have we let things get this bad??? >_<
  • Shaggy2286
    My list of Ads to be unacceptable (which includes the "from the web" ads you have on this website):

    - Popups of any kind - we have waged war on these since the dawn of internet ads, they have never been acceptable
    - Uses Flash/java or any resource intensive or security risk prone media
    - Features Sound or overly distracting animation *looks at the auto-playing video to the right that he didn't start*
    - Tricks you in any way, shape or form - examples: "virus alert download now" and ads that look like more content on the page you are on, but turn out to be a trick to take you to another website or a video with no play controls that goes on and on as if it is going to give you what you sought when you went their only to have you listen to what amounts to an infomercial *Looks at "from the web" above these comments*.
    - In your face ads that badly detract from the content of the page... actually this would be more a website block as this can usually be handled by proper ad placement and actually having content on the page. These sites usually have content sparsely distributed among their ads.
  • Brad_53
    I have an advertisement video playing on this site as I read this article.
  • jack_7474
    AdBlock says it blocked 43 ads on this page...jus saying.
  • gigawattz
    Yeah the irony is the auto-play video that annoys us on Every Single Page of this very website. I have always said, and clearly the writer agrees -- along with Google, ever since AdSense took over the internet by eschewing animated blinking flash interstitials with laser-gun audio tracks hawking mortgage scams for plain text-based ads that were Actually Somewhat Targeted -- that advertising is only annoying to audiences when its done *badly*. People complain to the FTC about Viagra spam, but happily click on facebook ads that align closely to their interests. In the case of Tom's here, we're all computer geeks -- if the damn auto-play Video Ad was a high quality video production, with NO sound, showcasing sexy Gaming Cases with windows and neon lights inside, CPU fly-by's, dual-fan full-length GPU video cards, and liquid-cooled bitcoin miners, we'd all be drooling and clicking on them like the mad gearheads that we are... but instead we always see (not hear, since we have our sound off) the same talking-head knucklehead, in the same cheap suit (oh wait, that's not Tom is it? whoops!) yammering on about something else, every single time. It's beyond annoying. Why would a publisher punish their audience by forcing us to interrupt our enjoyment of their story in order to stop and (good luck!) finding and actually clicking on the itty-bitty tiny stop button that ends the annoying sales shill, and then discourages us from liking their site *again* as we scroll down to continue to read the rest of the (otherwise excellent) content, only to see the same jerk again (again, my apologies if the jerk is you, Tom. -- wait, no. sorry, not sorry) reappearing in the right column to victimize us some more! WTH? Makes me see red every g*d*m*d time, and now in this right column incarnation of the devil, the close button is entirely intentionally UN-marked -- like we're supposed to believe *that* was an accident. When marketing insults the prospect's intelligence, it deserves to be blocked. Making that dweeb's face slide down the page, staring at me even after I've tried in vain to shut him up is Just Bad Advertising. Its the hallmark of low quality, bottom-feeding, greedy clickbait sites and I'm disappointed Tom's features such low-quality advertising. Especially when us hardware nerds are so easily convinced to part with our money if you simply market TO us, selling us the things you know we love, without shoving bad ads AT us in such a pushy, insulting way. Funny, Best Buy does the same thing -- they lure us in with shiny tech and blinking lights, then chase us out with loud, push sales people. Guess that's what happens when the writers and editors (and gear heads and nerds) lose control of the organization they made great, and cede control to the marketing scum, the former used car salesmen whose been recently Peter-Principled to Director of Online Sales, who's wearing his signature bright green neon pants and impressing upon everyone his new epiphany that yelling louder and talking faster is the key to making more money.
  • Kevin Morrison
    It all sounds good but you can guarantee Google has already setup the code to bypass the filter. To say they are doing this is like Exon Mobile saying they are going to blow up all the auto factories on earth. Why would they do that? This is just an attempt by Google to try and look like the good guy, when they control the biggest ad revenue market on the planet and if anyone is buying into this they are the perfect fool Google is looking for!