Today is a big day for online advertising. Google’s long-awaited ad blocking feature is going live in Chrome. Of course, you’ve been able to install ad blocking extensions in Chrome for ages, but now Google is rolling the feature out to everyone. However, it won’t block all ads; just those that are deemed intrusive.
Google is working with an independent organization called the Coalition for Better Ads. Companies like Google and Facebook support this group’s efforts to make the web less annoying. The Coalition for Better Ads has identified 12 types of ads that it wants websites to avoid. They include autoplaying videos, full-screen popups, and full-screen “scroll over” ads.
Google is an advertising company, so why would it want to block ads? It’s trying to give people an alternative to blocking all ads on the web. If you install something like Adblock Plus, you won’t see Google’s subtle but highly profitable text ads, just like you won’t see the obnoxious full-screen animated ads from other networks. The hope is by providing some guidelines, everyone will adopt more acceptable ad practices. Chrome has a majority share of global web usage, so it alone can move the web.
When a site is identified by Google’s Ad Experiences Report as running “bad” ads, it will have to make changes to avoid ad blocking. The domain has 30 days to fix its ads and request a review. If it misses the deadline or continues to run unacceptable ads, Chrome will block all the ads on that site. Google says this is already having a positive impact — 42 percent of sites that were failing in the Ad Experiences Report have now fixed their ads. If this is to be believed, you should start noticing a better web very soon.
For users of Chrome, the browser displays a small notice when you land on a page known to have bad ads. You can click for more information, but the complete lack of ads should be self-explanatory. The ad blocking features of Chrome are live in v64 of the browser, which rolled out to the stable channel recently. It works on Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, and Android. The version on Apple’s iOS is based on the Safari engine because of Apple’s App Store rules, so it won’t have the ad blocker included for the time being.
This is definitely a step in the right direction for the web, but there will probably always be sites that fall through the cracks. After all, the internet is a big place.
Let’s block ads! (Why?)