Details about Google's ad-blocking integration in Chrome - gHacks Tech News

Details about Google's ad-blocking integration in Chrome

Google announced plans some time ago to integrate a native ad-blocking mechanism into the company's Chrome web browser.

The announcement may have come as a surprise to many as Google makes the bulk of its revenue through advertising.

I assumed back when I wrote about it for the first time that Google's primary intention was to stop or slow down the use of third-party ad-blocking. I still think that this is Google's main intention, as it seems unlikely that Google will convince many ad-blocking users to uninstall third-party ad-blockers to rely solely on Google Chrome's native solution.

Pessimists might argue that Google may have intentions to block third-party ad-blockers in Chrome eventually. I would not rule that out entirely, but there is no evidence for that yet.

Webmasters were informed by Google that their sites had to pass a manual review. Sites that did not pass the review would have ad-blocking disabled while sites that did pass the review did not.

chrome ad blocker

Google uses the criteria for Better Ads Standards to determine whether sites fail or pass the review. The program addresses several ad formats and criteria that users dislike for one reason or another and distinguishes between the experience on desktop and mobile sites.

Sites fail reviews if they display pop-up ads, flashing animated ads, or auto-playing video ads with sound on mobile devices among other unwanted formats.

Google reviewed mobile sites only and starting February 15, 2018; Chrome will block advertisement on mobile sites that failed the review. Webmasters may correct the issues and ask for another manual review to get ad serving reinstated or not blocked in first place.

But how does native ad-blocking in Chrome work, and how does it differ from third-party solutions?

Google Chrome will download rules from EasyList and EasyPrivacy at regular intervals and apply them to sites that failed reviews automatically. All ads will be blocked provided that they are on one of the lists. This includes Google ads on sites.

Google identifies sites that failed the review through Safe Browsing. Chrome displays notifications on the desktop and on mobile devices that inform users that ads were blocked on the site in question. Users may interact with the prompt to allow ads on the site, a process that takes two clicks or taps.

As far as control is concerned, it is quite limited. While uses get options to override the blocking of advertisement on sites, an option to block ad serving on sites is not provided.

This is the biggest different to third-party content blockers like uBlock Origin or AdBlock Plus.

Closing Words

Google does not want users to block all ads as it will impact the company's revenue. Most webmasters that display advertisement on sites will resolve issues that made a site fail the review so that ad serving will commence on affected sites eventually.

The user experience will improve because some annoying ad formats are on their way out but some underlying issues are not touched at all. The main issue that I see is that neither Google nor any other company address tracking or the abuse of advertisement for malicious purposes. This can and will still happen; not on sites that have ads blocked but on sites that passed the review.

The second issue that I see is that some ad formats are exempt from impacting a user's experience. What about video ads that play automatically but don't play sound? I find those nearly as intolerable as video ads with sound.

Now You: How will this play out, what is your take on it? (via CTRL Blog)

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Details about Google's ad-blocking integration in Chrome
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Details about Google's ad-blocking integration in Chrome
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Google Chrome will block some ads on mobile devices starting February 15, 2018. Find out how native ad-blocking works in the browser, and how it differs when compared to third-party blocking extensions.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Gavin said on February 2, 2018 at 12:35 pm
    Reply

    I’ll certainly give it a look, but I doubt I’ll abandon uBlock Origin in Medium mode.

  2. cday said on February 2, 2018 at 1:01 pm
    Reply

    Blocking only a subset of ad’s would be of zero interest to most people who install ad-blockers, I would think.

    1. Paul's Dad. said on February 5, 2018 at 1:39 pm
      Reply

      It depends on what you mean by “interest”. One could say that a richer and more varied internet landscape would be of “interest” to most people, regardless of whether they have ad-blockers. One could argue that promoting reasonable and decent advertising practices would help in the construction and maintenance of that varied and rich internet.

      But it really doesn’t matter, at the end of the day. With Chrome’s market share, Google is effectively ensuring that scummy websites like illegal streams and shady porn sites will be less aggressive in their ad practices.

      OR they will ask the users to disable their integrated adblocker in order to view their content. In my experience, noob users who use stuff like uBlock or Adblock Plus tend not to even know how to do that, despite the icon being right there on their toolbar.

      1. John Fenderson said on February 5, 2018 at 5:36 pm
        Reply

        @Paul’s Dad: “One could argue that promoting reasonable and decent advertising practices would help in the construction and maintenance of that varied and rich internet.”

        I agree. However, I don’t think that Google’s efforts here are a sufficient step in that direction. I think that might have been what cday was alluding to.

  3. Kubrick said on February 2, 2018 at 1:14 pm
    Reply

    Why block just a few ads.I think the main reason for people to use adblockers is to block all ads and not just a chosen few.I agree that this is probably an initiative to stop 3rd party blockers in the future.
    I see absolutely no reason for chrome users to have this shoved down their throats.

    No chrome for me thank you.

    1. Bruno said on February 3, 2018 at 10:35 am
      Reply

      The main reason for people to block ads is they were annoyed by the aggressive ads so they (or rather the ad blockers’ authors) chose the shotgun approach, harming the income of decent sites like this.

      Surely this is for Google’s benefit but the “positive externality” is, sites with non intrusive ads might stop losing revenue. And hosting and quality content doesn’t grow on trees. It costs something. People waging the “holy war against ads” fail to realize this.

      1. John Fenderson said on February 5, 2018 at 5:40 pm
        Reply

        @Bruno: “People waging the “holy war against ads” fail to realize this.”

        I doubt that many people fail to realize this. I think it’s more that the price that such sites are demanding of their users (through intrusive advertising) is often greater than the value they get from those sites.

    2. Supergirl said on February 8, 2018 at 6:07 pm
      Reply

      Im glad to see google begin to behave responsibly.
      I only use chrome when my locked down Firefox wont open something.
      I dont trust Google I dont trust chrome… but Im persuadable
      Be honest open & fair & let the users decide.

      Some people are so pathetic that they NEED to be tracked all over the Internet
      to feel important..LoL

  4. Mr Stank said on February 2, 2018 at 1:16 pm
    Reply

    I do not trust them. Plain simple. The reason is well described in the sentence :

    “Google does not want users to block all ads as it will impact the company’s revenue.”

    I prefer they start charging for their services than to get money from advertising. If i do not like the service, I simple do not use it.I do not like advertises at all and I do not like them popping up whenever google or someone else feels like it. Also there are tons of alternatives to every google service currently exists. If not then it is not truly needed in the first place and google just trying to create markets.

    1. Paul's Dad. said on February 5, 2018 at 3:09 pm
      Reply

      “I prefer they start charging for their services than to get money from advertising.”
      So would I, to be honest, and monetarily speaking, YouTube Red is a huge success. But what you and I want and prefer is not the same for everyone, and this sort of decisions affect everyone. So the question is, would charging for web service instead of running on ads benefit the internet as a whole, let alone the end user?
      AND that’s a different discussion, but at any rate, we can’t simply talk about Google here, we need to talk about sites like Ghacks.

      1. John Fenderson said on February 5, 2018 at 5:42 pm
        Reply

        @Paul’s Dad: “So the question is, would charging for web service instead of running on ads benefit the internet as a whole, let alone the end user?”

        Why does it have to be “instead of”? Why not allow people to pay cash money in exchange for being protected from the advertising industry?

        I’ve seen a few sites try it, but they do it wrong — they turn off the ads, but don’t turn off the tracking — and for many people, it’s the tracking that is the real issue.

  5. Tom Hawack said on February 2, 2018 at 1:50 pm
    Reply

    Martin’s article’s closing words took my opening ones out of my keyboard. What more to add?

    As always, my opinion for the concept and that for myself.

    For the concept, considering a novice who just starts using a computer with Chrome installed, of course it’s better than before. On the other hand, less revolt means sometimes acceptation of the “less worst”, which may be Google’s aim on the long term : many wars have been won because of strategies which knew when to retreat; same in Chess.

    For myself is far easier to develop: no Google browser, no Google account, a maximum defense in the face of Google servers even if they are everywhere : blocking Google as a whole, from its known servers and IPs to the myriad of its 1e100 would lead to an unusable Web. Meanwhile we try to do the best.

  6. Sophie said on February 2, 2018 at 2:24 pm
    Reply

    …………Alphabet………Microsoft………..Adobe………….Facebook

    Need one say more?

    Oh yes………….I nearly forgot………. :: British Gas…..British Telecom…..British Petroleum

    @TOM
    For myself is far easier to develop: no Google browser, no Google account, a maximum defense in the face of Google servers even if they are everywhere : blocking Google as a whole, from its known servers and IPs to the myriad of its 1e100 would lead to an unusable Web. Meanwhile we try to do the best.

    – so very much agree!

  7. Kubrick said on February 2, 2018 at 2:52 pm
    Reply

    No need to be too harsh on the advertising business model as a whole though.Primarily if new businesses of any sort is to get off the ground then good advertising is always a good start,We must remember the web is a fantastic opportunity for companies and up and coming new businesses to get a head start so in this respect we should not get on our high horses and condemn all forms of advertisers as thankfully not all online entities are google megadons with corporate finances on their minds,but we hopefully live in a democratic society where business has a fundamental right to advertise across all forms of media and to deny this makes us no better than the corporate ad barons we try to evade.

    1. Sophie said on February 2, 2018 at 3:01 pm
      Reply

      @Kubrick – very philanthropic of you. I’m afraid that I don’t take such a benign view, but of course I believe that every view has the right to be held.

    2. Tom Hawack said on February 2, 2018 at 3:17 pm
      Reply

      @Kubrick, It seems to me that what may be a vast majority of those complaining about advertisement complain far less about its very legitimacy than about its excess. People are exasperated by much, too much, more and more advertisement, added to tracking, added to malvertisement : it’s just too much.

      From there on I agree with your comment. There’s no point to deny advertisement as such, not IMO anyway.

      Let it be noted, to bounce on your recall of democracy, that we do live in a world where some websites are not banned by their “sponsor” on the basis they write an article and include a not excessively enthusiastic personal opinion about them, and that Google News for instance includes articles which are not really flattering regarding the company. That’s good, it’s also smart and all together doesn’t mean being smart isn’t the first trigger. I’m not in their brains.

      Whatever, there is a problem with power concentration, and that problem concerns democracy.

      1. Sophie said on February 2, 2018 at 5:13 pm
        Reply

        @Tom – a big YES………… it is about excess, plain and simple. Exasperation about excess, but also the ever increasing clamour to be louder and more and more intrusive. When you add the tracking and malvertising, it finishes off a bad job.

        But really, to express it in one single word….I take yours, “excess” in a nutshell.

    3. John Fenderson said on February 2, 2018 at 5:37 pm
      Reply

      @Kubrick: “No need to be too harsh on the advertising business model as a whole though”

      I’m not harsh on the model at all. I’m harsh on the industry. As long as they continue to treat me as an enemy, I’ll reciprocate.

  8. Sophie said on February 2, 2018 at 2:58 pm
    Reply
    1. Tom Hawack said on February 2, 2018 at 4:32 pm
      Reply

      Interesting article, Sophie. In this case it was the other aspect of an ad industry : besides its arrogant omnipotence and hysterical policy of “always more” the article describes a major ad comapany’s incompetence to handle its own system : “[…]the attackers behind the ads were abusing Google’s DoubleClick ad platform[…]”

      The infernal machine.

      We’re far, so far from the ad business as some of us knew it, far from the “Bewitched” TV series where the husband was a sympathetic as representative, far from non-targeted simple ads … if they ever come back that way I’ll start reconsidering my ad-breakdown :=)

      1. Sophie said on February 2, 2018 at 5:22 pm
        Reply

        @Tom…..yes, there is a lot of innocence lost in the present-day world. I try not to say that with rose-tinted spectacles, and just how things have changed. Many things for the good, but not always.

        “Bewitched”………I’m not sure about that, but the nostalgia that I think you are referring to….made me think of “Bisto Gravy”, was it perhaps the early 1980s? Benign days, where the simple wish to market your goods, and create product awareness…..has given way to a ruthless industry, that sadly, will stop at nothing to feed itself.

      2. Tom Hawack said on February 2, 2018 at 5:39 pm
        Reply

        @Sophie, are we ever too young?! You must be to spot this “Bewitched” starring late Elisabeth Montgomery (of whom I was in love!) .. first appeared back in the sixties (I was and a teen and a bachelor, then!)

        Oh my, there I started digressing again. What I meant was that back then advertisement was rather fun and not at all banned by whoever, it was even a cultural deal which inspired many artists. Doesn’t inspire anyone no more… to put it mildly :=)

  9. MarkCB said on February 2, 2018 at 3:05 pm
    Reply

    Highly amusing that the PIA ad at the banner on Martins site gets through my uBlock setup! Bravo.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 2, 2018 at 4:13 pm
      Reply

      Its is just an image loaded from this server. So, no tracking or script execution involved.

    2. John Fenderson said on February 2, 2018 at 5:39 pm
      Reply

      @MarkCB

      In my opinion, that banner is completely acceptable, and I wish that other sites would do advertising in a similar way.

      1. Nebulus said on February 2, 2018 at 6:50 pm
        Reply

        I agree. The banner that Martin uses is the best solution possible, because no tracking is involved.

    3. Gary D said on February 2, 2018 at 8:55 pm
      Reply

      @ MarkCB

      You’re a Troll, fol de rol. :)

    4. Klaas Vaak said on February 3, 2018 at 6:18 am
      Reply

      So what’s your point?

  10. Coriy said on February 2, 2018 at 3:12 pm
    Reply

    I’m confused by something in the article.
    “Sites that did not pass the review would have ad-blocking disabled while sites that did pass the review did not.”
    Why would sites that fail the review have ad-blocking disabled?
    They fail the review if their ad practices violate the standards, so why allow them to continue?
    And if sites pass the review they’re blocked from having ads???
    Isn’t that backwards?

    Not being a grammar cop, I’m just confused…

  11. John Fenderson said on February 2, 2018 at 5:10 pm
    Reply

    Personally, Google’s efforts here are worthless. As long as ads continue to engage in tracking, I will continue to block them all.

    1. Sophie said on February 2, 2018 at 5:18 pm
      Reply

      Ads will never stop engaging in tracking…..as indicated by ever-cookies, permanent storage, Canvas fingerprinting, etc. etc. etc….

      They know cookies are lost or rejected or deleted, so the desire to track (and the determination to find more and innovative ways to do it) is not going to go away any time soon.

      What I would like to say here….is a BIG BIG thanks to all the list providers and maintainers. Forgotten heroes, all of them, and usually at no personal gain to them.

      1. John Fenderson said on February 2, 2018 at 5:41 pm
        Reply

        Sadly, I think you’re completely correct. The war goes on.

      2. ilev said on February 2, 2018 at 6:12 pm
        Reply

        That is just what Apple did in Safari (and Chrome, Firefox… on iOS). Apple blocked tracking in ads.

        No tracking, no revenue: Apple’s privacy feature costs ad companies millions

        https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jan/09/apple-tracking-block-costs-advertising-companies-millions-dollars-criteo-web-browser-safari

      3. John Fenderson said on February 2, 2018 at 10:06 pm
        Reply

        Yes, and that news report made me smile. Apple did good there.

      4. SSupergirlupergirl said on February 8, 2018 at 6:28 pm
        Reply

        Wow! Apple did that ….Hooray
        Maybe we are reaching a slimy rock bottom below which
        some companies will not go.

        I remember when captchas did texts that computers could read out of old manuscripts
        A noble endeavor….I got so sick of typing “Progressive Insurance”
        into them lately that I went & got a different car insurance company.
        not anymore ANNOYERS..LoL

  12. pHROZEN gHOST said on February 2, 2018 at 5:51 pm
    Reply

    This says it all. “Google does not want users to block all ads as it will impact the company’s revenue.”

    It does not take a rocket scientist to see what Google is up to.

    With the popularity of Chrome, Google is now in a position to decide what ads you see if you are not blocking ads. A significant portion of the user community does not block ads.

    Google will make money from advertisers who are willing to pay them for the right to have Chrome allow their ads.

    I do believe that was the same thing certain ad blockers were doing in the past.

  13. pHROZEN gHOST said on February 2, 2018 at 8:40 pm
    Reply

    When it comes to ad blocking, Google is the wolf in the chicken coop.

  14. Darren said on February 2, 2018 at 8:46 pm
    Reply

    The average user: I’ll use chrome because it already has built-in blocking!!! Meanwhile google has the web that much more under its control. Ugg. I miss the early days of the internet.

  15. Ray said on February 2, 2018 at 11:09 pm
    Reply

    I find it odd that Chrome would use EasyList and EasyPrivacy, lists that they do not maintain.

    I think Chrome would write its own list to whitelist or circumvent the blocking of their own ads network that they run, while allowing EasyList and EasyPrivacy to run their filters.

    I wonder how Chrome’s adblocking will work on Android for 3rd-party browsers that only use Chrome as their engine like Lightning Browser. Maybe it is something the authors will have to implement themselves.

    1. Sophie said on February 3, 2018 at 12:08 pm
      Reply

      Yes, I’ve not really understood the use of those two lists….EasyL and EasyP …….surely this is going to engage ad blocking that is too heavy for them, and out of their control? Something I’m missing here.

  16. Mohan Manohar said on February 3, 2018 at 4:56 am
    Reply

    Some days back my advertiser asks me about creating ads.txt file and this is perhaps the first movement of Google towards moving into complete transparency in advertising system and as web master I do support showing of some relevant ads that are being taken out from the recognised sources.

    1. John Fenderson said on February 6, 2018 at 1:05 am
      Reply

      ads.txt has nothing to do with users or “acceptable ads”, though. It is entirely aimed at making advertisers and websites more comfortable that they aren’t being duped by ad fraud.

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