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.
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.
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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.
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??? >_<
- 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.