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.
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.
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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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.