Google Showing Ads In Chrome Browser, Is This The Beginning Of The End?

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 24, 2011
Updated • Apr 1, 2014
Google Chrome

Internet users are accustomed to ads on Internet pages. One of the most prominent advertisement services used these days is Google Adsense which is available for websites, searches on websites and for mobile devices. Adword ads dominate the Google search result pages, and other Google properties are also displaying their fair share of ads.

Salimane Adjao Moustapha recently posted a photo of another place where Google (seemingly) has started to display ads: the company's own Chrome browser. The screenshot shows a new tab page of the Chrome browser. The Apps section is open and at the top of it is an ad for Google's own Chromebook. It states: Get a Chromebook for the holidays: the computer powered by Chrome.

The first part of the ad is underlined. It is not clear where it leads to as it is not revealed by Salimane, and I was not able to reproduce it.

google chrome ads

The post on Google Plus sums up all the different opinions about the ad in Chrome. Some say it is Google's right to display ads because the browser is free. Others that they should not do so without giving the user control over the ads. A third group is suggesting to switch to Firefox or Chromium. And a last group is angry but not angry enough to switch just yet. It would not make much sense either at the time considering that the majority may not have seen ads in Chrome yet.

I'd like to know your opinion about ads in web browsers. Do you think it is ok for Google to display ads in the browser, especially if it is for other Google products? Or would you say that ads in a browser are a no-go, regardless of what they promote?

My personal opinion on the matter is that Chrome has turned adware if Google makes the decision to display these kind of ads to all Chrome users. It does not really matter if the ads promote Google products or third party products, an ad is still an ad regardless of what it promotes or tries to sell.


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  1. SKhan said on December 1, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Opera is the best browser. Chrome is crap.

  2. zxcat said on November 30, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    The next step: native ads support inside Android)

  3. Mark said on November 30, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    People should just use Opera, it’s better than all other browsers in virtually every single way.

    Sure they don’t have the budget to tell the world about their product, but that doesn’t mean it’s not excellent…

  4. Andy said on November 29, 2011 at 5:37 am

    Commerce supplying what is wanted is good and advertising is useful, but it can be too much, and it can be in inappropriate places.
    Users of Ad supported software usually do so because they either have no choice, or the ad (or other) strategy is reasonable.
    Any advertising strategy that works will proliferate, obnoxious or not.
    Its not that Chrome users should switch, but that they can. This is an issue of convenience, not patriotism.
    I’ve already voted. I surf with Firefox and search with Duckduckgo and Ixquick, which allow me to search Google without Google searching me.

  5. Christophe T. said on November 28, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    honestly – I find Google has shown quite a good taste in advertising all along on their products. Ads are usually not taking up a lot of space – are non invasive and make quite often sense. As long as I don’t have to click pop ups away and having a stupid frame puling over my screen – I don’t mind. For being angry – there still are quite a few companies that have a very aggressive approach to advertise.

  6. R. said on November 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    I still use IE…

  7. Kader said on November 26, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Step slut by Google

  8. Gregg DesElms said on November 26, 2011 at 3:56 am

    I agree that no matter what they’re for, they’re still ads; and ads, as a part of the browser itself, are not good. In the past there have been other browsers — lesser-known; some of them which use the Intenet Explorer engine — which have inserted ads into open areas in the top bars of the browser, or which have a taller footer and squeeze a little ad bar or two or three, across the bottom, in said footer.

    Those browsers, I notice, to the last of them, are gone, now; and have BEEN gone for a long time.

    If Chrome gets like those old examples, then I dare say that people will leave it in droves. However, if they remain as described in this article, then they’re darned similar to what pops-up for many as they move from page to page in their GMAIL accounts. While I hate them, they’re surprisingly easy to get used to, and ignore. Though I wouldn’t want Google to do it more than that in the browser, I confess that I might not even notice it after a while. Who knows. That still doesn’t make it right; and to be clear: I’m four-square against it, no matter what.

    Whether it would make me stop using Chrome, I don’t know. Hmm. Part of the reason I’m not sure is that I don’t really use Chrome as my primary browser. Misguided though some reading this may say it is, I use IE9 most of the time. I’m only using Chrome right now because I’m using my wife’s machine while my new one (my old one just died) is being shipped from Dell; and I don’t want to use her copy of IE9 and inadvertently get all my login and pasword and other cookies and whatnot implanted in it. Yes, of course I know how to clean/clear them all, in any or all brosers, but then her logins and whatnot in IE9 would get all wiped clean. So I’m just using Chrome while on her notebook. So, what I’m saying is that I, by and large, tend to use either Firefox or Chrome pretty much only when I encounter a web page which will not reder properly in IE9, or when I need to be logged-in to the same web site (like eNom, for example) through two different accounts simultaneously.

    Therefore, other than being categorically against it, and, of course, hating it whenever I see it when I used Chrome, I’m not really sure it would bother me all that much in a real sense, mostly because I’d likely not see it very often. That still, however, doesn’t make it right; and, again, to be clear, my vote is “NO ADS IN CHROME!”

    Google’s pretty smart, though, if you think about it, to ease us into it slowly by having displayed similar-looking ads in GMAIL for a while, now; perhaps to desensitize users to them so there won’t be such an outcry when they start doing it elsewhere… notwithstanding how counter-intuitive that is, considering that the whole point of ads, in whatever form, is to be noticed.

    One thing which may help, though, are plugins/extensions like Ad-Blocker; or the use of a HOSTS file. That’s what I use… AdBlocker+ in Chrome and Firefox; and the adserver list from it, via EasyPrivacy, used in the “Tracking Protection” part of “Manage Add-ons” in IE9.

    It’s the HOSTS file, though, which, in largest measure, provides the SERIOUS protection. I use the freeware “HostsMan” by Abelha Digital to manage it. It’s the hands-down best of the… oh… I’d say maybe four, total, well-known HOSTS file managers. And HostsMan comes pre-configured to download and keep up-to-date the either full HOSTS files, or the ad-server-only HOSTS files, of MVPS Hosts, hpHosts, Peter Lowe’s AdServer list, etc. It’s quite good and amazing; and it’s easy to enter exclusions so that web sites listed in those pre-configured HOSTS files can be accessed anyway, if you insist on it. HostsMan will also remove duplicates from the HOSTS file after each update. Just don’t choose to optimize the HOSTS file in HostsMan, because it makes it hard to find a given web site in it since optimization causes multiple sites to be listed on a single line in the file. And if one adds or excludes a site from the HOSTS file, one must first flush the DNS cache before the change will be reflected in the browser; or sometimes the browser must be closed and restarted to make it take… a small price to pay for the overall coolness of it. HostsMan, I tell you: It has no rival.

    And the HOSTS file will effectively block at least some Google ads; but here’s the problem: Google has gotten wise to that, and so is now running some Google search results through its adservers so that if said adservers are blocked in the HOSTS file, then Google search, itself, stops working. Pretty smart, on Google’s part, I say. And so when one excludes that particular Google adserver in order to make Google search, itself, work, voila!, the ads in other areas also return. So, in that case, one can’t win for losin’!

    Monitizing the web has been an upwardly-moving trend for a long time, now; and there may, in the end, be little that most of us can do about it. Any browser which dares to do it, though, had darned-well better follow the Android apps model and make sure there’s an easily-affordable version without ads which may be purchased. If THAT doesn’t happen, then I dunno… I may spend my senior years not even using the Internet… just sitting on my front porch, rocking in my rocker and farting a lot… so that the kids in the neighborhood giggle and hold their noses as they walk by, saying “Ewyouoooo… there’s smelly ol’ Mister DesElms! Runnnnnnnnn……”

    Hey… one can DREAM, can’t one? [grin]

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  9. gadgets said on November 26, 2011 at 3:41 am

    There is indeed something going on lately…anyway I am not seeing any advertisement on my chrome browser yet. Martin, if Google allows adsense to be used on chrome application developer application page then that will be nice for a developer to make a few dollars from there, but it is not happening yet…:)

  10. Chris said on November 25, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Sounds like adware to me. Then again you could argue that Chrome is an operating system not a browser. Or maybe a black hole, its hard to tell with all the wizardry on the web now. It should also be noted that Google (and Microsoft) are the only ones that advertise to get users to use a web browser. Don’t see this with Mozilla’s open source browser.

    1. Dan said on November 26, 2011 at 12:21 am

      “It should also be noted that Google (and Microsoft) are the only ones that advertise to get users to use a web browser. Don’t see this with Mozilla’s open source browser.”

      Mozilla did do ads for Firefox. Remember the Spread Firefox campaign? Or the Mozilla video contest, where they asked users to make ads for them, and the winning ads got used in real ads?

      I use Opera, and Opera also made ads, and their browser was adware until version 8.5. Safari was used as an ad for Macs. There is no shame for browser makers to advertise their product.

  11. Jack said on November 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Dont want damn ads in chrome? Use SRWare.

  12. FX said on November 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    This is why I use Firefox 11.0. Google only cares about profits and shareholders, not their users.

    Mozilla cares for their users, not for profits and shareholders.

  13. LiberalismIsAMentalDisorder said on November 25, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Yep,not showing up in Chromium.Besides,New Tab Redirect extension opens user-specified URL which I use to display my home made StartPage with mouse over Bookmarks below the banner:

  14. Sam said on November 25, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    I suppose it’s their right, but I certainly won’t use Chrome, especially in light of Google’s propensity for gathering data which could be hacked for personal information.

    I’ve been using SRWare Iron, an open source clone of Chrome for some time now.

  15. Finvana said on November 25, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    If Google starts tracking our browsing habits (I want to believe, ahem, they don’t do it right now) I also will mark chrome as adware.

  16. kurtextrem said on November 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    It’s only the Chromebook, Chrome as a laptop. So where’s the problem? The ads are from google self and they advertise a similar product, because there are news for it.

    And best, there is a “X”, which you can press…

  17. Martin Watson said on November 25, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    It has always puzzled me why people moan about advertising, especially when it is focussed. I don’t want to see ads for non-relevant products, but if they are tailored for my interests and lifestyle, that’s much more use. I don’t do anything on the net that I need to hide, so ads are OK with me as long as they are of interest. Incidentally I am just starting to try Chrome on my netbook, as it is small, and I am very impressed.

    1. Transcontinental said on November 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm

      Another reason besides the fact that one’s sensibility towards advertisement is, if not ideological (as for myself), a sum of all, so many, too many, crowded, remains that it is notorious that many advertisement canals are vectors of infection, name it intruders.

      Advertisement in itself is human as communicating is, one has and one wishes to let it be known, that’s for the idea. The facts are slightly different when we all know what tremendous exaggeration there is in this business. Last but not least, advertisement on the Web links to tracking when tracking leads back to advertisement.

      A study had been led by Times or Newsweek 10, 15 years ago which demonstrated that same results could be achieved with half less advertisements … make less and better and ads will be more efficient !

      Other than that, I am aware that many private sites/blogs could not make it without ads, therefor tools like AsBlock+ are most valuable as they allow per site users’ policy.

  18. Transcontinental said on November 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I think that those who have chosen not to mistake a browser with a search engine will neither be surprised nor disappointed that advertisements make their way back when the browser’s daddy is in the advertisement business.

  19. Swapnil said on November 25, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Google must be ashamed of itself if this is true – that’s all I can say.

    1. gadgets said on November 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      Why should Google ashamed of its self? We get everything free from Google and it should not be any problem for me even Google want to place the (300 x 300 banner) advertisement right on the middle of the browser.

    2. Midnight said on November 25, 2011 at 3:31 pm

      A Big company like Google has NO shame!!
      It’s all about Revenues for them!!

      1. Swapnil said on November 26, 2011 at 6:59 am

        I never wondered that Google can be so shameless.

        First Chrome sends all browsing history to Google servers.
        Now, they even want to generate revenue out of Chrome?

  20. ódio said on November 25, 2011 at 11:42 am

    glad i keep on firefox.

    i install and tried Chrome 2 different times, and dont like it. i keep it on the pc only to look some new feature, but, thats all…

  21. ilev said on November 25, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Speaking about Google :

    Google Now Censors The Pirate Bay, isoHunt, 4Shared and More

    Google has expanded its search blacklist to include many of the top file-sharing sites on the Internet, including The Pirate Bay. The changes were quietly processed and appear to be broader than previous additions. Google’s blacklist prevents the names of sites appearing in their Instant and Autocomplete search services, while the pages themselves remain indexed.

    Since January 2011, Google has been filtering “piracy-related” terms from its ‘Autocomplete‘ and ‘Instant‘ services.

    Google users searching for terms like “torrent”, “BitTorrent” and “RapidShare” will notice that no suggestions and search results appear before they type the full word. As a consequence, there’s sharp decrease in Google searches for these terms….

  22. public image said on November 25, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Actually this is old. Remember last year i saw this at first – Google needed testers for their chromebook

  23. ilev said on November 25, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I use Chrome with AdBlock Plus. AdBlock is turned OFF on all Google sites and on new tab :-)

    As for the Ads, I see no harm. Google gives its services for free so adding Ads for its own Hardware or software is logical.

  24. leo said on November 25, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Chrome is more confident in himself but it takes too much CPU than avant .
    so i switch to avant browser .faster and use less memory.

  25. firefoxlover said on November 25, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Google’s browser is the most invasive browser I’ve ever come across. It leaves so much junk after uninstalling it that it ain’t funny, never mind Google Earth and other stuff. It has its tentacles all over which are (over 450 remnants) virtually impossible to remove. Adding ads to their browser is IMHO spamming.

  26. DanTe said on November 25, 2011 at 7:31 am

    And I wonder how Google gets the info to target the ads? Could it be that they have been storing your Chrome behavior in your Chrome caches? Hmmm…?

    That’s why I never switched to Chrome. Sticking with Firefox – the user have more control.

    1. Midnight said on November 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      Enuff said!! :)

  27. Reimer said on November 25, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Post some proof that Chrome “records all your surfing whereabouts and sends the information back to Google” or stop spreading FUD.

    1. Cattleya said on November 28, 2011 at 5:58 pm
    2. Midnight said on November 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm

      It’s a known fact what Google does, since they are a Marketing company, besides being a Web Portal and anybody who reads on line News would know that!
      It’s been posted numerous times and I don’t post FUD!!

      1. Reimer said on November 25, 2011 at 7:33 pm

        In other words, you have no proof.

      2. Midnight said on November 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm

        Do your own Research and see for yourself!
        I did! :)

      3. Reimer said on November 25, 2011 at 3:53 pm

        If it’s such a known fact that Chrome “records all your surfing whereabouts and sends the information back to Google” and if it’s all over the web news as you say, then surely you should be able to post numerous links with proof.

    3. Pietzki said on November 25, 2011 at 6:40 am

      I think Midnight is referring to this: “If you choose to share usage statistics with Google and you accept a suggested query or URL, Google Chrome will send that information to Google as well. You can
      disable this feature”. Which can be found in their privacy policy:

      However, I suspect that similar things can be found in firefox’s terms and conditions as well..

      1. Midnight said on November 25, 2011 at 3:34 pm

        “However, I suspect that similar things can be found in Firefox’s terms and conditions as well.”

        Perhaps, but there are NO Ads in Firefox! :)

      2. Reimer said on November 25, 2011 at 7:44 am

        User metrics in Chrome isn’t even enabled by default. It is an opt-in option.

        They get a lot of data from cookies, Analytics, and oh.. I don’t know.. the search engine itself? Neither of which is a function of the browser itself and every browser is open to.

        I mean really… no one is saying Google are saints. They are first and foremost an advertising company. But to say that Chrome purposely records every single thing you do on the internet? That’s spreading FUD and is plain paranoia with no proof.

  28. Anees said on November 25, 2011 at 4:55 am

    advertising in internet browsers is affecting browsing process so any browser doing this will killed by users who wants to browse internet smoothly.

    1. Midnight said on November 25, 2011 at 5:19 am

      No Ads in Firefox!! :)

  29. Midnight said on November 25, 2011 at 4:36 am

    I suppose that it doesn’t bother any or all of you (Google) Chrome users that the Browser records all your surfing whereabouts and sends the information back to Google, who use that for their Marketing ploys or whatever!!

    That’s an invasion of privacy, the same thing Facebook was accused of doing and got their wrists slapped for!

    So, if Google is flooding their Browser with Ads, all the more reason to dump it!!

    Firefox is better than ever! Fast, secure and virtually bug free and that’s good enough for me!
    Never said it was perfect as No software is perfect!

  30. dw4rf_t0ssr said on November 25, 2011 at 3:11 am

    I think most savvy users will use Chromium or Srware Iron. Basically they’re showing ads to those who really might not care anyhow, so let ’em.

  31. Clement said on November 25, 2011 at 2:35 am

    Seems pretty harmless to me.
    Sure it is an “ad”, but it’s not just related to “Google”, it is clearly talking about a new way to “enjoy” Chrome.

    Say we are talking about a product inviting you to try its brand new version but not forcing you to upgrade, would that be problematic ? Depends on how it’s done.

    Here, I’m just informed, as a Chrome user, that I can get all that experience on a dedicated “Chromebook”.

    I don’t like it ? Well I just move on with my browsing. No harm done.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 25, 2011 at 8:33 am

      So where would you draw the line?

      1. gadgets said on November 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm

        It seems like I am not the only one that complain a lot but there are lots of people are complaining about Google as well. That is why people around the world often do not like USA because it is the only superpower in the world. What can we do? If we want to make a living as a blogger or use internet then we got no choice but try to love Google. I really hope there are some other CPC affiliate network that are as good as AdSense so a blogger can have more choices but they are all gone now!

      2. Midnight said on November 25, 2011 at 3:24 pm

        Don’t know about Rick, but I draw the line by Not using Chrome!

        Saves me a lot of grief!!

    2. Rick said on November 25, 2011 at 4:28 am

      Harmless today….but will it always just be a “google” ad? Don’t think so; there is no money in that!

  32. Mithun said on November 25, 2011 at 2:29 am

    Yesterday, my Chrome also shown the same ad. Chrome is getting bloated day-by-day.

  33. Morely Dotes said on November 25, 2011 at 1:06 am

    I can’t reproduce it, either. Until such time as it’s reproducible, it’s not a fact; it’s an anomaly.

  34. Pietzki said on November 25, 2011 at 12:51 am

    “My personal opinion on the matter is that Chrome has turned adware if Google makes the decision to display these kind of ads to all Chrome users. It does not really matter if the ads promote Google products or third party products, it is still an ad.”

    Well, either you call it adware, and accept that AVG, AVAST, and AVIRA are also adware (they also display in-product ads for their own paid products), or you think of it as a bit of harmless self-promotion.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 25, 2011 at 8:37 am

      Sure they are adware. Products that contain ads for other services or products are adware. This is my definition, others may vary of course.

    2. Anonymous said on November 25, 2011 at 2:31 am

      @Pietzki – Excellent point.

      I have enjoyed the benefits (and excellence) of Avast’s freeware versions for years and years. It’s never occurred to me to consider their on-board promos for upgrades and whatnot intrusive, unexpected, or questionable.

      Unless Google starts *flooding* tab after tab inside Chrome with non-propriety junk ads, the situation’s not much different.

  35. Dan said on November 25, 2011 at 12:46 am

    I remember when I first used Opera (v 5). It had ads, but I still loved the browser and used it as my default browser. But Opera was (and still is) a small company, and they’ve dropped ads several years ago. Google is a behemoth, it doesn’t need to put ads in its browser. At the least, Google should announce it beforehand and not sneakily put ads without user consent.

    I still use Opera as my main browser, but I also have SRWare Iron which is based on Chromium. I’ve dropped Chrome because of privacy and trust issues.

  36. Rick said on November 24, 2011 at 11:38 pm


    How long did it take the first ad blocker to show up in Chrome? If my memory is correct – forever. There is a reason for this – Google’s browser has been developed to deliver ads.

    Now that they have sufficient market share they will be unwrapping the hidden gems of joy (well for advertisers anyhow).

  37. SimpleKiwi said on November 24, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    The link in the new tab page goes to:

    I don’t believe that Chromium displays this sort of behaviour

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 25, 2011 at 8:40 am

      Thanks for posting the link.

  38. WebHybrid said on November 24, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    No in-Chrome ads from Google have yet infested here. But then I don’t open Chrome that much – usually a few minutes a day (exceptions: certain TV show episodes don’t activate in Firefox as configured).

    Could be that the extension ‘AdBlock Plus’ in Chrome is successful at killing Google ads that are pushed.

    If it gets out of hand, surely someone will make a script or style or something – obviously not a Google-hosted Chrome extension! – that will block the little bugs (like the Stylish style called ‘Gmail – Block Sponsored Links’ I’ve got going in Firefox).

    Meanwhile IMO as advertising goes, Google’s is not all that awful. It doesn’t blink, flash, slide, pop up, swirl/twirl/unfurl or otherwise obnoxiously scream for attention. To me the more basic concern is Google’s expertise at tracking and such, in part for the purpose of ad-tailoring. Pretty hard to stop the tracking, and while I do take some privacy measures, to a significant extent I gave up on that some time ago.

  39. Fabian said on November 24, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    If I see one of these ads in my Chrome browser I will instantly switch back to Firefox unless you can switch off the ads completely.

  40. boris said on November 24, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    No way I am going to use browser that does not have full AdBlockPlus functionality.

    1. BobbyPhoenix said on November 25, 2011 at 9:31 pm

      I was using Ad-Muncher, and the ads where there, along with those Google text ads in Gmail, but I switched to AdBlock (Not AdBlock Plus), and all signs of any ads are gone. AdBlock works very well. Here is the link. If I’m not allowed to add links I’m sorry. Just let me know.

  41. BobbyPhoenix said on November 24, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    These look like the same kind of ads that show in Gmail. I use an adblocker, but these still show. Personally I don’t mind them. The are one line, small ads. I would be up in arms if they were huge flashing ads. Those I can’t stand. Those are why I use an adblocker. If all ads on webpages were like these I wouldn’t need to block any of them. Animated, flashing, with noise ads are not needed, and only take away from the webpage, and therefore must be blocked.

  42. Jack said on November 24, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I haven’t noticed this yet. I’m not an enthusiastic Google Chrome user – if only because I just don’t trust Google all that much. I use Firefox most of the time, but have been dabbling with Chrome given the enthusiasm of some friends.

    Have to say, though – if this does turn out to be true, then the Google browser will simply be history.

    Firefox isn’t perfect by any means – but it still remains my first choice when compared with either MIE or Chrome.

  43. Paul(us) said on November 24, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Yes, This is for me the beginning from the end.
    Do you think they can be blocked with ad-block plus (or something like that)?

  44. Midnight said on November 24, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    That’s one reason for not using Chrome.
    The other reasons are privacy issues!

    I’ll stick with Firefox! :)

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