Google Chrome could unload resource heavy Ads in the future

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 26, 2019
Google Chrome

Some ads on the Internet use an "an egregious amount of CPU or network bandwidth" and that has to stop, according to Google. The company plans to integrate a new feature in the company's Chrome web browser that will unload resource heavy ads automatically.

Cryptominers, ads that load uncompressed or poorly compressed image files, use JavaScript to decode video files, make other expensive operations that tax the CPU, and ads that load large video files before user interaction are mentioned explicitly by Google as targets for the ad-blocking extension.

A small fraction of ads on the web use an egregious amount of system resources. These poorly performant ads (whether intentional or not) harm the user’s browsing experience by making pages slow, draining device battery, and consuming mobile data (for those without unlimited plans).

Google implemented an ad-blocker in the Chrome web browser recently that focuses on sites that display ads that violate the Better Ad Standards. The company revealed in 2017 that it would implement ad-blocking functionality in Chrome to block some ads in the browser and that the ad-blocking would begin in 2018.

Some saw this as a step in the right direction, others that it did not go far enough and did not address privacy and security issues associated with advertising.

chrome heavy ads

Ad formats such as pop-up ads, auto-playing video ads or flashing animated ads on mobile devices are classified as problematic by the standard and thus blocked in Chrome when detected.

If Heavy Ad Intervention is implemented in Google Chrome, the browser would unload ads that meet the outlined criteria. Google defines egregious as "using more of a resource than 99.9% of ads as measured by the browser".

Google proposed certain thresholds and exceptions:

  • Only ads that the user has not interacted with are targets for the unloading.
  • Ads are considered heavy if
    • it used the main thread for more than 60 seconds in total.
    • it used the main thread for more than 15 seconds in any 30 second window.
    • it used more than 4 Megabytes of network bandwidth to load resources.

Chrome displays information in the Developer Tools console to inform about unloading events. The network and performance panel may provide additional information about the cause of the unloading.

So-called intervention reports are sent to the iframes that are unloaded to provide publishers and advertising companies with information on why a particular ad was unloaded by the browser.

Google projects that the implementation would "save 12.8% of the network usage by ad creatives, and 16.1% of all CPU usage by ad creatives" if implemented.

Closing Words

Google published an intent to block resource heavy ads and the possibility exists that the company won't implement the feature after all. The likelihood of it being implemented in Chrome is high, however, since it improves the user experience towards advertisement.

Naturally, the feature won't have any effect on users who run content blockers already as all ads are blocked by these. Google, reliant on advertising, cannot implement full content blocking in its browser as it would have a heavy impact on the company's revenue.

Other browser makers implemented ad-blocking outright, Opera launched it in Opera 37 in 2016, while Mozilla focused its efforts mostly on tracking.

Now You: What is your take on Google's efforts to eliminate problematic ads? (via Techdows)

Google Chrome could unload resource heavy Ads in the future
Article Name
Google Chrome could unload resource heavy Ads in the future
Google plans to integrate a new feature in its Chrome web browser that will unload resource heavy ads automatically.
Ghacks Technology News

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Ray said on September 27, 2019 at 6:07 am

    It looks like we are asking the devil to forgive our biggest sins :)

  2. mike90000 said on September 27, 2019 at 2:48 am

    I only use Chrom(ium) when a web site absolutely, positively requires it for first view.
    For that purpose Ungoogled-Chromium works …. until I block its adverts with Ublock Origin or blacklist it in my hosts file.
    Can’t remember if it was ads or just egregious use of javascript, but is a resource sucking monster for example.

  3. Anonymous said on September 26, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Here’s a thought, maybe not introduce manifest 3 to cripple gorhill’s ublock?

    ublock/umatrix does exactly what we need. PREVENT any adware, tracking from loading onto hard drive whenver browsing the web.

    If you are taking away that capability then you are not helping the situation at all.

    You ignoring user privacy and the right to not be infected via malvertising campaigns, because you removed our protection mechanisms through third party adblockers such as ublock/umatrix.


  4. John Fenderson said on September 26, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    “What is your take on Google’s efforts to eliminate problematic ads?”

    I have a very different idea of what constitutes a “problematic ad” than Google does. Google’s efforts simply don’t address the ads that I consider problematic.

  5. Coriy said on September 26, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    The thresholds seem suspicious. It’s as if they are trying to push their own WebP and WebM standards for their advertising “partners” to use.

    1. Anonymous said on October 1, 2019 at 2:02 pm

      You mean pushing WebM video ads vs whatever they are using, mp4 maybe ? Is WebM that much more efficient that it would make a significant difference ? Is it even any more efficient than what ads use now ? And how is picture format even relevant here for such large thresholds ?

    2. Paul(us) said on September 27, 2019 at 12:52 am


    3. Anonymous said on September 26, 2019 at 5:57 pm


  6. Kubrick said on September 26, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    I don’t use chrome anymore as it does not offer anything i need more than palemoon or firefox.Firefox incidentally handles ads far better than chrome IMHO .
    I suspect this is a gimmick to incur public confidence but as history has shown this confidence is shaky at best.
    It doesn.t deserve the highest usage share but numbers are what people like and nothing instills confidence more in people than high percentages and statistics.
    Too little too late.
    My native country is germany and chrome is hated with a passion there.I now reside in england which i have done for many decades.

  7. Jeff said on September 26, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Too little, too late from Google. Ads already did their damage. Blocked permanently.

  8. Anonymous said on September 26, 2019 at 11:27 am

    Browser vendors want to take control of adblocking themselves to discourage users from installing a real content blocking solution like ublock origin that defends only their interests. They provide a built-in castrated version that deliberately lets through “non-intrusive” ads (Chrome), or non-tracking ads (Firefox), or ads on the sites of search engines that pay more openly the browser to be whitelisted (Falkon), or they optionally replace blocked site ads with their own (Brave), or provide their own ads by default on the home page (Firefox…).

    Then their employees tell everyone that they don’t really need an adblocker since they are already doing the job, and that an adblocker could be anyway dangerous for their privacy and security and is bad for performance; they restrict what adblockers can block and disable them by default in incognito/private browsing mode, because you know, they are already doing the job for you. They tell you, don’t worry that some versions of our browser do no longer support ublock origin at all, because our castrated version protects you !

    1. Anonymous said on September 26, 2019 at 11:42 am

      Just let mister moneybags do the thinking for you, we to good there’s no /corporate interest/ at play, he’ll treat you good. Cross my heart and hope to die.

  9. Anonymous said on September 26, 2019 at 11:26 am

    Really working to make their business model seem more and more appealing, but business is business and this is a trojan horse if i’ve ever knew. The heart of the matter remains.

  10. Yuliya said on September 26, 2019 at 9:55 am

    Neat. Though ideally you would dsiscard heavy ads before even loading them, based on their size. Those threasholds also seem too high. 4MiB?? I’m sorry, I’ll give you 32 KiB, that’s enough for a static image and some text for an ad, anything beyond that is ridiculous. And you would not use more than a couple of seconds to load/render it aftwr which it becomes completely innofensive to resources.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.