Highlight Ads on Google and Reddit by fading them in Chrome

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 16, 2019
Updated • Sep 17, 2019
Google Chrome, Google Chrome extensions

NoDisguisedAdsAnymore is a new extension for the Google Chrome web browser that changes the design of ads on Google and Reddit to make it easier to distinguish content from advertisement.

Google has a set of rules for websites and webmasters that use the company's Adsense program; one of the rules forbids that content is formatted to mimic ads.

Publishers may not implement Google ads in a manner that disguises the ads in any way. This includes formatting neighboring content to look similar to the ads.

Google on the other hand changed the display of advertisement on the company's search engine significantly in the past decade. Advertisement on Google search and organic results look very similar in 2019. The only distinguishing factor is a small "ad" reference placed on the second row of ads in the results.

The lack of differences between ads and organic results increases clicks on ads certainly and the only question is by how much.

The Chrome extension NoDisguisedAdsAnymore changes the formatting of ads on Google search results pages and on Reddit to help users avoid these adverts.

The following screenshot shows a result on Google after installation of the extension.

google hide ads

The ads are still there but they are faded out on the results page. Some Google users may be surprised by the sheer number of ads on Google search results page.

The extension works on Reddit as well and will do the same to fade out ads on the site that look just like regular posts.

The extension offers no use for Chrome users who use content blockers as advertisements are not shown in Chrome if a content blocker like uBlock Origin is used.

Users who don't mind ads but want a clearer distinction between advertisement and content may like the Chrome extension on the other hand. It may also be useful for educational purposes to highlight the ever increasing use of ads on Google properties.

Closing Words

NoDisguisedAdsAnymore is a specialized extension for Google Chrome that fades ads on Google and Reddit. The extension should work in other Chromium-based browsers as well but I did not test that.

Experienced Internet users may not need the extension to distinguish content from ads. Users who just use the Internet on the other hand may find this beneficial.

Now You: What is your take on the extension? Good idea or superfluous?

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  1. Anonymous said on September 17, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    This extension is worthless. It works only on two pages (maybe three). It should import EasyList and apply this “shading” to all ads.

  2. beergas said on September 17, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Worth try for times when a site forces you to turn off ad block (s) to have complete access.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 17, 2019 at 3:46 pm

      That is actually a pretty good idea! It would have to work on those sites though.

  3. pndy said on September 17, 2019 at 11:17 am

    > The extension has no use for Chrome users who use content blockers as advertisements are not shown in Chrome if a content blocker like uBlock Origin is used.

    Then, what’s the point of this extension? Ad removed from site content is better than dimmed out. Unless of course, that’s how adblocking extensions will work once Google will push the API limitations…

    1. Anonymous said on September 17, 2019 at 3:30 pm

      Thanks. Some sites won’t run completely if detect an ad blocker operating. So when ‘forced’ to Off blocker this could come in handy.

      1. Anonymous said on September 18, 2019 at 8:00 am

        uBlock Origin has an Anti Adblock Killer module[filter list essentially] that can be added to it; it usually works on many such sites that block adblockers.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on September 17, 2019 at 11:37 am

      I think it is more of an educational application rather than one that is of use. Content blockers are better no doubt about that but not everyone wants to run them.

  4. Erin said on September 17, 2019 at 1:32 am

    WHO wrote this special Chrome extension?
    Does the extension itself track your surfing around the Internet?

    Prohibiting Surreptitious Advertising
    German laws require advertisers to label their advertisements as such, it can be difficult to assess in what media and under what circumstances the labeling requirement kicks in:

    The obvious guess is Google is forced to clearly delineate to comply with German Law.

    Amazon Ads Worsening
    Amazon push of sponsored advertising in searches is worse, because ad-blockers are largely ineffective. To get advertising partners rates high, they force irrelevant products into your face even though you did NOT search for them.

    1. Anonymous said on September 17, 2019 at 1:02 pm

      Make sure these Amazon ads are not injected by one of your browser add-ons.

  5. Shiva said on September 16, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Useful. It reminds me Search Engine Ad Remover for Firefox.

  6. paul(us) said on September 16, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    When I am not working with the search provider google.com but with the anonymous search provider, startpage.com, do you think this extension will work?

  7. Anonymous said on September 16, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    Not found

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 16, 2019 at 4:50 pm

      what do you mean?

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