Google May Add an Ad-Blocking Feature to Chrome (GOOG)
Alphabet Inc.’s Google (GOOG) is considering introducing an ad-blocking feature to its widely used Chrome internet browser in a bid to filter out commercial messages that hinder user web-surfing experiences.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the ad-blocker, which is expected to be officially announced by Google in the next couple of weeks, is still in the development phase. Current details being mulled over include whether to block individual ads or all advertising that appears on offensive websites. The tool will reportedly be usable on desktop and mobile versions of Chrome and could be activated by default.
What Types of Ads are Unacceptable?
The New-York-based newspaper added that Google is likely to consult with the Coalition for Better Ads to establish what type of external messages merit blocking. The industry group released a list of standards in March. In it, pop-up ads, auto-play video ads, prestitial ads with countdown timers and large sticky ads were identified as unacceptable. For mobile devices, it also outlawed flashing animated ads, full-screen scrollover ads and ads with a density greater than 30 percent. (See also: Are Adblockers Changing Internet Business Models?)
What Could this Mean for Google’s Ad Business?
Given Google’s reliance on advertising revenues — the company generated over $60 billion in revenue from online advertising last year — its decision to potentially block ads appears to be a strange move. It has also attracted some controversy, particularly as it would enable Google, whose Chrome browser is used by nearly 60 percent of the global population, to effectively control the market and cut off revenue from rivals. (See also: Google, Facebook Dominate Digital Ads in 2017.)
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is building its own ad-blocker in an attempt to stop an increasing number of web users from installing tools offered by other companies. By providing its own solution, Google could, in theory, control which ads are blocked.
Google has previously attracted criticism for paying the maker of Adblock Plus, one of the most popular ad-filtering brands, to not block advertisements on its website. However, if the company’s new tool abides by the standards introduced by the Coalition for Better Ads, it will effectively be forced to apply measures that do not necessarily favor its own advertising customers.
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