After retiring Google Reader, a highly unpopular move by the reactions on the Internet, Google made another move that is infuriating part of the company's user base. According to first hand sources, Google started to ban ad blockers from its Play Store. What this means is that ad blockers like Adblock Plus, AdAway or Ad Blocker are not available anymore on Google Play. The following section of the Play Store Developer Distribution Agreement was cited as the reason for that by Google:
4.4 Prohibited Actions. You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Market, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator. You may not use customer information obtained from the Market to sell or distribute Products outside of the Market.
When you try and open the applications on Google Play you receive the notification that the url was not found on the server.
Installed copies will continue to work for the time being, but they won't receive updates anymore. Most developers urge their users to install the applications directly from the developer website instead to receive updates as usual. Not all apps offer their own updating mechanism right now though. Adblock Plus will receive its own updating routine with its next release. For now, users need to update those apps manually instead. And Adaware already moved to F-Droid which supports automatic updates and the like.
Android users who want to use ad blockers have still enough options at their disposal to do so. The removal from Google Play on the other hand shuts out the majority of Android users from using those applications as it is likely that they have never heard about sideloading apps before.
Google's main intention seems clear. It is first and foremost an advertising company, and users who use ad blockers reduce the revenue that ads generate on Android. With ad blockers being banned, ads are shown to more Android users and as a consequence, Google's revenue from that increases.
The Chrome Web Store is not affected by this at the time of writing.
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.