I have been watching an alarming trend in past years. Google, once the up and comer in the search engine market, with excellent results has turned into a behemoth whose primary objective is to keep search engine users on its own properties.
I'm not the only one who made that observation. In worst case currently, only one organic search result is showing up above the fold on Google. If you'd remodel your website after this, you'd be certainly penalized by Google's new Panda algorithm which tries to improve the quality of search engine results (oh the irony).
The example below is probably not the best, as it misses other Google properties and services (like news, videos, Google places) that are usually included in the search results.
I have switched my search engine to Bing some time ago. I do have to admit though that I do not use one search engine exclusively. If I cannot find what I'm looking for on Bing, I head over to Google.com to search there. And that's usually when I come in contact with the ads on those pages.
I first tried to find a userscript but there was none that was up to date in this regard. My second stop was the Firefox add-on repository where I did not find an awful lot of Google specific ad blocking solutions.
The one thing that I did not think about at first was the most obvious choice in this regard: Adblock Plus. I do not use the Firefox ad blocker as I'm perfectly fine with the NoScript add-on. NoScript on the other hand does not block the ads of the Google search engine.
After installing Adblock Plus the same search results page on Google looked like this:
All of the ads were gone, without doing any form of customization first. Perfect.
Google Chrome users can download and install a comparable solution called Adblock for Chrome. It basically does the same thing.
The custom Google search engine Scroogle is an alternative. It comes without the ads and tracking that users are subject to on Google. Results may not look as pretty as on Google but that's usually not a problem.
Update: Scroogle has been taken offline.
It feels kinda strange that there are not more userscripts and extensions to block ads on Google, especially so if you have monitored the increasing number of ads on the search result pages.
I also know that this must sound ridiculous to some. A webmaster who earns his living from ads is advising users to block ads on Google.com. Ideally, I would hope that those of you who install or use ad blockers have the courtesy to disable those blockers on my site. I know that some of you do and I'm thankful for that.
Adblocker users can click on the icon in the left corner of the browser window in Firefox to bring up the configuration menu. Here they can select to disable the add-on on the current site.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.