Block Helpdesk and Chat popups in your browser - gHacks Tech News

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Block Helpdesk and Chat popups in your browser

Hello Goodbye is a new browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox that blocks helpdesk and chat popups on websites that you visit.

Many sites, especially those that offer services or sell products online, implement helpdesk or chat functionality on their sites to interact with customers.

While that is useful at times, for instance when you want to interact with a company, it is quite annoying all the other times that these popups are displayed in the browser window. These popups may be distracting and they may block part of the content on a site. Additionally, they add to the loading time of the site and they may even be used for tracking if they originate from third-party domains.

Hello Goodbye

Hello Goodbye is available for Chrome and Firefox, and as a filter list. Since it is available for Chrome and Firefox, it will also work in compatible browsers such as Vivaldi or Opera. The filterlist is useful for users who use content blockers like uBlock Origin as they may simply add the list as custom filters to use it that way without installing yet another extension in the browser of choice.

The filterlist approach is also useful to users who don't run a compatible browser but can use filter lists to block content.

The extension works automatically on all sites regardless of whether you use the extension or filter list. The filter list highlights the connections that get blocked by the extension.

The developer claims that it blocks every chat or helpdesk pop up in the browser; a bold claim that is probably not true. It does block major services effectively, however and it is easy enough to add more domains to the filter list manually for use.

Users who use the extension may want to suggest new domains to block on the project's GitHub page. The extension does not indicate whether a live chat bubble or popup was blocked on the active page; that's a problem as this would help you in case you need to contact support.

You may disable the extension with a click on the extension icon and the selection of disable. A whitelist would probably be a good idea to allow the loading on specific domains.

Closing Words

The filter list is useful, and so are the extensions. It is easy enough to add the filters to a content blocker or create your own filters using them. Regardless of whether you use the extension or the filter list directly, it is clear that the extension does away with a huge annoyance on today's Internet.

Not all users are exposed to chat or helpdesk bubbles and popups regularly or frequently, and the extension is probably not for them. Those who encounter these regularly however, may want to give it a try.

Now You: Which annoyances would you like to block on the Web?

Summary
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4.5 based on 3 votes
Software Name
Hello Goodbye
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Browser
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Comments

  1. Weilan said on March 18, 2019 at 8:27 pm
    Reply

    Seems nifty, although I rarely encounter websites that do that anymore… maybe I’m just visiting the wrong websites. xD

  2. Mikhoul said on March 18, 2019 at 8:41 pm
    Reply

    Just block it with any regular Adblocker like UBO, ABP or Nano Adblocker lot more easy and one less extension.

  3. Tom Hawack said on March 18, 2019 at 8:53 pm
    Reply

    “Hello, hello, I don’t know why you say hello I say good-bye”
    That’s not a very nice thing to say is it, better the other way around like the Beatles would sing it.

    It may not be a friendly approach but it’ll be ours when facing helpdesk or chat functionality.

    Added the dedicated filter list to ‘uBlock Origin’, and considering it holds only 16 filters at this time is enough to spare me tie time of wondering if it’s worth it given I’ve never encountered such disturbing helpdesk or chat functionality on a Website.

    As for the annoyances I’d like to block on the Web, besides those already taken care of (I keep the 7th Fleet on alert 24/7) I have in mind the captcha pain in the neck. It’s one thing to confirm not being a robot on sites handling confidential data (even if there are other ways) but it’s another, even more irritating, on sites handling nothing but info, such as whois.domaintools.com which isn’t embarrassed to get on the user’s nerves with a :

    “Validation Required
    Please help us validate that you are indeed human by solving the provided captcha”

    Move off or it’ll be me. Happens it’s me given the site is unlikely to fire off to hell.
    So I abandon such places and never return. That bothers me.

    1. Shiva said on March 19, 2019 at 10:07 am
      Reply

      @Tom Hawack
      Speaking about filters and blocking… Here another ‘creative’ way to solve the automatic update of Acrylic Hosts. My knowledge of programming language is limited to “Hello World”, so it is a ‘chimera’ of routines. But compared to Hostman output it seems to be working.

      1. Tom Hawack said on March 19, 2019 at 4:43 pm
        Reply

        @Shiva, thanks for sharing but I’m afraid my programming skills are lower than yours given they’re yet to arise, lol. That UpdateHostsAcrylic is a python script if i’m not mistaking and Python is not installed on my PC.

        Scripts frighten me generally speaking because of their potential and because I’m a neophyte.

        I’ll carry on with my old mechanical approach, even if your approach is certainly more pertinent.

      2. Shiva said on March 20, 2019 at 8:02 am
        Reply

        @Tom Hawack
        It is only a series of simple actions on a text file merged after downloaded the lists with Autohotkey file and it has nothing to do with StevenBlackHosts advanced script that is a serious way to programming. But I’ve already changed it. I anticipated you a possible alternative to solve the issue with HostMan\Seqdownload links, don’t touch the Hosts file and update all list automatically.
        I used Phyton because I already installed it due to OpenWith addon and thanks to missing API in Firefox. The next step is do all the job only with Autohotkey, I still have to write the find\replace actions, but on the basis of the ‘infinite monkeys theorem’ I will get there.

  4. Patrick Ellen said on March 19, 2019 at 5:58 am
    Reply

    Another excellent and useful article.

    Keep up the great work Martin (Y) (Y) (Y)
    Patrick Ellen

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