You may block heavy ads in Google Chrome natively now - gHacks Tech News

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You may block heavy ads in Google Chrome natively now

Google announced plans in 2019 to do something about what it calls heavy ads in the company's Chrome web browser. The effort complements other targeted ad-blocking implementations in Chrome that it launched earlier.

Advertisement on the web needs to meet at least one of the following criteria to be considered heavy:

  • Use more than 4 Megabytes of network bandwidth.
  • Use the main thread for more than 15 seconds in any 30 second window.
  • Use the main thread for more than 60 seconds in total.

In other words: any advertisement (including all its descendant frames) that uses too much CPU or network bandwidth. Any ad that meets at least one of the criteria is considered heavy if the user has not interact with it already. Google Chrome will block ads in the browser once they are identified as heavy.

heavy ad blocking chrome

The company notes:

In order to save our users’ batteries and data plans, and provide them with a good experience on the web, Chrome will limit the resources a display ad can use before the user interacts with the ad. When an ad reaches its limit, the ad's frame will navigate to an error page, informing the user that the ad has used too many resources.

Google reveals how it came to define heavy ads. According to Google, the company looked at the "most egregious ads" and set the thresholds accordingly. About 0.3% of advertisement on the web exceeds Google's limits today but these account for 27% of network data and 28% of CPU usage of all advertisement according to the company.

Google wants to launch the ad intervention in August in Chrome stable. Chrome users can enable the feature already in Chrome in the following way:

  1. Load chrome://flags/#enable-heavy-ad-intervention in the browser's address bar.
  2. Set the flag to Enabled.
  3. Load chrome://flags/#heavy-ad-privacy-mitigations in the browser's address bar.
  4. Set the flag to Disabled.
  5. Restart Chrome.

Chrome will block ads that meet the criteria for heavy ads after the restart.

Closing Words

Google is trying to make advertisement on the web more tolerable by fighting against abusive ad formats, publishers and advertising companies. One of the hopes is that users who don't use ad-blockers yet will not be tempted to switch to extensions or services that block advertisement because the nastiest advertisements are blocked by the browser.

As far as heavy ads are concerned, it needs to be noted that these are blocked only after they reach one of the thresholds in the browser and not before.

Publishers and advertising companies can check out this technical article that provides details on how to analyze ads and resolve the situation.

Google announced in February 2020 that it plans to block annoying video ads in Chrome as well.

Now You: What is your take on the latest incentive in this regard?

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You may block heavy ads in Google Chrome natively now
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You may block heavy ads in Google Chrome natively now
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Google announced plans in 2019 to do something about what it calls heavy ads in the company's Chrome web browser.
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Comments

  1. Maelish said on May 15, 2020 at 5:06 pm
    Reply

    Does this actually happen to anyone? Genuinely curious. It does seem like a great idea.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 15, 2020 at 5:12 pm
      Reply

      I think the main issue with the new heavy ad blocking is that the ads will run for a while before they are blocked. It would be better if Google would maintain a database of heavy ads to block these ads outright.

  2. Yuliya said on May 15, 2020 at 5:17 pm
    Reply

    >Use more than 4 Megabytes of network bandwidth.
    >Use the main thread for more than 15 seconds in any 30 second window.
    >Use the main thread for more than 60 seconds in total.

    No ad should take more than half a second to render and use any more than 100KB of bandwidth. You can have a fairly detailed PNG image for about 100KB, and it displays instantly.

    Speaking of ads, there’s a new version of uBlock Origin out. It has a new UI, which.. how can I put this nicely together without sounding like a compain..? Pffffff, the old UI was not worse in any way than the new UI. There you go, hopefully noone will be bothered by this statement.

    1. 99 said on May 16, 2020 at 8:57 am
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      >>> hopefully noone will be bothered by this statement.

      Quote gorhill

      Just to clarify some choices that were made in the new popup panel, there are changes that I have made on my own and for those who do not like them, I am the one to whom you should complain. Here are the choices I made on my own:

      Read on:

      https://github.com/uBlockOrigin/uBlock-issues/issues/1027#issuecomment-629561754

      1. Yuliya said on May 16, 2020 at 1:38 pm
        Reply

        99, I don’t have a github account, and while some changes do indeed make sense (like moving per-site switches for js, fonts, cosmetic, etc) do make sense, my biggest complain is something will never be addressed because I know I’m in the minority: the new popup is huge, it is a monstruosity which takes half my laptop’s screen height: https://i.imgur.com/jtjhuoU.png

        By the looks of it, this is mozilla’s doings, which they seem to also be on the same track ever since Firefox Australis theme, and no matter what I say, it won’t change their mind. Even when I prove that the old UI was just fine on a touchscreen – I was using uBlock0 1.26 on my Surafce tablet just fine with my finger, the UI was properly sized.

        It’s here to stay, and I’ll either have to swallow it or find an alternative – I’ve yet to decide.

      2. SpywareFan said on May 16, 2020 at 2:24 pm
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        uBO – Settings – I am an advanced user – “uiFlavor” set to “classic”

      3. Yuliya said on May 16, 2020 at 9:35 pm
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        gorhill4 uBO Developer 5 points · 1 day ago
        You can get the old one back by setting uiFlavor to classic in advanced settings. But in the long run, maintaining two versions of popup panel is too burdensome, so there will be a point where the old one will be removed when it will require too much work to keep it in working condition.

      4. 99 said on May 16, 2020 at 4:36 pm
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        >>> I don’t have a github account

        Dear Yuliya!

        For the first time in years, that’s super-duper news ;~)

    2. John said on May 16, 2020 at 11:49 am
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      Google will block all the adblockers, so they’ll decide which ads they want to show you.

      1. Iron Heart said on May 17, 2020 at 6:36 pm
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        @John

        Only Chrome won‘t have adblockers anymore, since all of its adblockers are extensions. Some Chromium-based browsers like Brave have native adblockers which are not extensions, and these native / built-in adblockers will continue to work. Chromium-based browsers aside from Chrome will be fine. Plus, there is Pi-Hole.

  3. Tom Hawack said on May 15, 2020 at 5:27 pm
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    When it comes to addictions there are two methods: immediate and progressive. The latter is Google’s approach (because they believe there’s good addiction if it isn’t moderate), it’s also mine when it comes to tobacco (less and better) but concerning advertisement I’ll stick on method 1 : immediate. Works great. No idea what an ad on the Web is, nor spam by the way. Doctor ‘uBlock Origin’ is to be thanked, I wouldn’t have made it without him. Before I was a true ad addict but because I followed exaggeratedly the trip (ad dealers everywhere on the Web) I got to be discussed. Now I enjoy the web like never before.

    Four (4) MBs abds? Good Lord. So under that an ad isn’t considered heavy? And does this critical point concern the total of ads whatever their dealer or a per-ad limit? Because many sites smoke, drink and go on a variety of heavy drugs via several sources. What a nightmare.

  4. ZuluPerson said on May 15, 2020 at 6:03 pm
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    Is there any benefit to change the above two flags on desktop with Chrome paired with uBO?

  5. HappyMigrator said on May 15, 2020 at 6:41 pm
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    lol Google and ads blocking… please…

  6. ilev said on May 15, 2020 at 7:46 pm
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    What exactly are ads ?

    Never seen one in decades.

  7. Paul(us) said on May 15, 2020 at 10:20 pm
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    Martin, you wrought “Google is trying to make advertisement on the web more tolerable by fighting against abusive ad formats, publishers and advertising companies.”
    Martin the question from me to you is: Ïs this the political correct sentence and should be it actually be “Google is trying to make advertisement on the web 100 % controlled by Google by fighting against any other ad formats, publishers and advertising companies.”?

    1. Mark said on May 16, 2020 at 8:00 am
      Reply

      You don’t get it. 80% of people don’t use ad blockers. Yes, they want them to keep not using them and the best way is to make them torelable to them.

      1. Paul(us) said on May 16, 2020 at 12:50 pm
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        Mark, The Latest statistics is that 80 procent (Source: science magazine) is using adblockers.

      2. Mark said on May 17, 2020 at 5:11 am
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        You are confused, you probably confused which percent belongs to who.
        It may be shocking for you but this precent is NOT using adblockers.
        I can give you thousands of links which show the statitics.
        It’s 70% to 80% in all statistics, NOT using them.

      3. Paul(us) said on May 17, 2020 at 9:52 pm
        Reply

        Statistics (with many different resources) in 2018 said more than 40 percent was using already an adblocker. (As an example: https://www.statista.com/topics/3201/ad-blocking/ )

        I read in an article last month that in 2019 the worldwide percentage (Precise figures expected in 2021?) because of the Corvid-19 crisis compared to 2019 was doubled. So that made me wright that it was a large number with an exponential growth curve.

      4. Mark said on May 19, 2020 at 12:13 am
        Reply

        It’s 40% in specific countries. WORLDWIDE it’s 20% to 30%. You have claimed that it’s 80%, now you claim it’s 40%. That’s not how statitics work, we don’t double numbers this way ignoring the total numbers. What you have read is that more people (doubled) during covid crisis were using adblockers, but that’s logical because the TOTAL number of people has increased because they were at home surfing the internet. No matter if we like it or not, there is no point trying to make adblocking something it’s not. It’s not the behaviour the majority of people follow.

  8. Genisis said on May 16, 2020 at 1:41 am
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    I have ZERO ads on my entire network. piHole! https://pi-hole.net/

    Google will never allow an ad free experience.

    1. Anonymous said on May 19, 2020 at 10:55 am
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      they allow it. I have a g suite account and I don’t get any ads in their services.

  9. fireattack said on May 16, 2020 at 2:06 am
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    The second config link is wrong.

    It should be chrome://flags/#heavy-ad-privacy-mitigations-opt-out

    1. chesscanoe said on May 16, 2020 at 7:00 pm
      Reply

      I run the way fireattack suggests.

  10. Jody Thornton said on May 16, 2020 at 2:36 am
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    I wonder if this has remotely anything to do with the antitrust lawsuits now pending against Google in the US.

  11. Kincaid said on May 16, 2020 at 4:03 am
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    I wonder how much energy Chrome expends trying to detect “heavy ads”.

  12. MartinFan said on May 16, 2020 at 6:37 am
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    “As far as heavy ads are concerned, it needs to be noted that these are blocked only after they reach one of the thresholds in the browser and not before”, so by then it’s too late and the damage is already done?

    How is that saving users data plans when they let the limits be reached 4MB?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 16, 2020 at 8:45 am
      Reply

      They cut it off at the point by blocking it from using more bandwidth or CPU. As I said, I don’t think it is that helpful unless Google maintains a database of heavy ads to block.

  13. Dale said on May 16, 2020 at 1:19 pm
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    I’m not sure they really care about making the web better, just to give that impression. They are more than happy to block competitors in the ad space though which is better for them.

    Of course no ad should be those sort of sizes or use that much cpu (are they even common?) but they don’t know that until it’s too late, so it only blocks subsequent impressions.

  14. beergas said on May 16, 2020 at 5:55 pm
    Reply

    For curious might this have any bearing on MS Edge (being related now) or na? Thanks.

    1. Iron Heart said on May 17, 2020 at 6:34 pm
      Reply

      Depends on what Microsoft deckdes to do, only they know unless they have announced something. Microsoft doesn‘t have to implement any change Google implements, if they don‘t want to.

  15. Pieter Degroote said on May 16, 2020 at 7:14 pm
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    On both desktops (Win) and mobile (Android), I use the Brave Browser (based on Chromium), as Brave offers built-in protection against tracking, malware,… and ads.

    On my desktops, I also use ‘uBlock Origin’, as an additional layer (+ Bitwarden for password management).

    From the other hand, I also like Mozilla Firefox, but as for now, I believe that Chromium (and Brave) has a faster security response, especially for zero-days and in-the-wild exploits.

    Oftentimes, I read good articles about AdGuard Home and Pi-hole, but I consider them more as conceptual solutions for now : they protect the whole network with all connected devices (and also other applications aside of Brave), but NOT any mobile data connections or other networks being used by the same devices elsewhere…

  16. ULBoom said on May 17, 2020 at 4:54 am
    Reply

    Well, this would allow Google to sell more ads. Smaller ads. Just what they want. May only have a tiny effect on revenue but they do like handing out goodwill, real or not; this will help users.

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