Google is said to be developing an ad blocker for its Chrome web browser. Sounds weird, right? Google makes most of its money through advertising, so why would the company start blocking ads by default in what’s arguably the world’s most widely used web browser?

According to the Wall Street Journal, it’s a self-defense move.

The thing is, a lot of people are already using third-party ad blockers. Google is hoping that by blocking just the ads people hate the most, it can convince you not to install one of those block-all-advertising tools.

This could be a win-win: users get a better web experience, and Google gets to keep making money from ads. But while the move could convince some people not to install an ad blocker, I have a hard time believing it’ll convince any existing users to stop using content blocking plugins.

Not to single any sites out, or anything…

Once upon a time, pop-ups were some of the most annoying ads you could find. These days most web browsers have some sort of pop-up blocking function.

But there are other types of ads people find annoying, such as interstitials (the full-screen ads that hide a page for a set period of time before it loads), or ads that automatically play audio or video as a page loads.

The WSJ reports Google’s ad blocking tools would take aim at those ads… which are probably some of the ads that currently drive people to install plugins like Adblock Plus or uBlock. But a funny thing happens when you install one of those plugins: not only do you not see annoying ads (or any ads at all), but web pages also tend to load a lot more quickly and look less cluttered.

Sure, there’s a chance that some non-ad content might be affected. But many people who install an ad blocker find it hard to go back, especially when you consider the fact that many ads also track your personal data and some have even been used to deliver malware.

As someone who makes a living primarily through online advertising revenue, I don’t typically use an ad blocker. But I totally understand why someone would. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing what Google can deliver: it sounds like a perfect solution for someone like me.

I do worry a bit that a tool which is ostensibly designed to only affect “bad” ads could eventually be used as a weapon (maybe any ad that’s not served by Google is bad?). But a partial ad-blocker built into the web browser I’ve been using for years? That sounds like a good idea.

I know many of you are loyal users of plugins that block all ads (except for sites you whitelist, like this one, of course). Would a web browser with native blocking of just some ads convince you to give up your plugins?

Or have you passed the point of no return?

And would you have maybe considered not installing those plugins in the first place if Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Opera had tackled interstitials and auto-playing ads as aggressively as they had pop-ups back in the day?

Also, this is as good a time as any to remind you that if you do use an ad blocker on this site, but would like to support Liliputing in some way, please consider making a monthly contribution to our Patreon campaign. Pledges of as little as $1 are much appreciated, and you can cancel or modify your pledge amount at any time.

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18 replies on “If Google Chrome starts blocking some ads, would you give up third-party ad blockers?”

  1. Since they can’t even get search right, who would trust them with anything more?

  2. I’d use it (but not with Liliputing, of course :).

    I do use Adblock Plus, but have always been an bit uneasy with their revenue model, which involves advertisers paying to have their ads whitelisted so they won’t be block by ABP. Despite ABP’s denials that it’s extortion, it looks pretty much like a ransom to me.

  3. Here’s the thing: people have to go out of their way to locate and install ad-blockers. And people are lazy. We do it because we have to, because a few bad actors on the internet abused the system.

    My guess is embedded ad-blocking in Chrome will keep people from bothering to track down ad-blocking extensions, because, well, people are really that lazy and disinterested.

    That said, some of us don’t use ad blockers just because of the obnoxious abuse put on us by some websites, we use them for other reasons such as, yes, faster loading of webpages etc, as well as things such as privacy concerns.

    Remember the olden days of 5 years ago when people used to develop web pages explicitly for mobile browsers? Those days are gone because 1) average bandwidth and speed has increased across the board 2) more powerful hardware can accommodate heavier pages and 3) OS providers have adjusted their software so your browser doesn’t crash your phone when it chokes on some ad heavy page.

    5 years from now ads won’t slow your browser down or choke your hardware, and integrated ad-blocker will be de facto standard.

    I’m just annoyed that it took an advertising company (google) to take the initiative to do this before a software company (microsoft).

  4. Of course NOT. Google is EVIL. I will never give up third party open source extensions.
    I use uBlock Origin and prefer to keep using it as well as advocate others to use it too.

    1. You people will end the free Internet. Publishers relied in ads for paying bills no longer able to create useful content. I wonder where you are going to find content. It’s your wish to use ad blockers and acting as an evangelist to ad blockers but keep note that you will never see the web filled with rich content. The end of free web is near. Cheers

  5. I miss flash big time. It was absurdly easy to block 99.9% of all internet annoyances and threats by blocking all flash. And it was very easy to reenable one main element of content (a tv show, for example) visually and selectively. On top of that, if you used a decent browser, it was all sandboxed anyway. I blocked flash that way for ages and never touched ad blockers, because I didn’t want to hurt publishers (most ads still showed while I blocked flash).

    Blocking scripts that present threats in the modern era is orders of magnitude more difficult because not only are they interwoven into every element, they’re spread out and coming from sometimes dozens of different domains per page, and I doubt whatever google’s cooking will change that. Malvertising is bad, but it’s not the only threat. All cross-site injected scripting is very vulnerable. And no one is willing to be accountable when it’s compromised and infects even hundreds of millions of users including hospitals and police stations.

    Flash was the common cold, HTML5 is the yet-to-evolve thing that devastates us so badly, there aren’t enough left to make a scary movie about it. But the techies are mostly backslapping each about how great the death of flash is. Morons.

  6. Yeah,this will be nice if they target a lot of the really annoying ads, the other kind that would be nice to be removed is ones that look like articles between others, those also drive me nuts. I really don’t mind the side banner ads, where appropriate, and even enjoy them when they bring to my attention something I might have overlooked, or a deal from a place I haven’t checked. Can’t stand the “news” sites that have those ones after articles that link to sites that put minimal content on a page and have you go through each page to generate maximum ad coverage, or with the most click bait style headline as a supposed news article. Those can all go die in the hell that they came from.

  7. It’s a good idea and I might play along but what will happen is rival advertising platforms will sue them over it. They’ll claim Google is giving preferential treatment to its own ads and yada, yada, yada…

    1. Google will have to be very careful not to show any favoritism towards its own ads, and I suspect they will be, given the easy lawsuits any shenanigans would induce, not to mention, the EU regulators will be watching them like a hawk.

      It might not enough, though. Any advertising company that specializes in the type of ads that gets caught up in Google’s ad blocker, especially ones that just cross then line into being annoying to the user, will probably sue anyway, and could end up winning, even if Google acts completely in good faith.

  8. I suspect this is also a reaction to other browsers implementing similar ad-block features. I remember the early days of simple banner ads and people feeling compelled to block those. I was fine with those and have had positive experiences with banner ads. The problems with ads cannot be overlooked. There are the annoying ones that will autoplay sound or video and eat up mobile data. There are the obnoxious ones that do the same, but pop in over what you’re browsing. Then there are the malicious, from scams to malware. I held off using an ad blocker until it was too much for me. I use Firefox, but if I used Chrome, I’d try the feature, but I’d be quick to go back to a 3rd party if it let the wrong stuff through.

    I do disable my adblocker for sites I like such as this one.

  9. I use uBlock Origin but am on the patreon … I would definitely use something like this, especially on mobile. (It’s a pain to do adblocking with Chrome on Android.)

    I don’t know if I’d uninstall adblock, but I’d try browsing without it and perhaps not install it next time I updated my browser. 🙂

  10. I use several ad-blockers on Chrome. I would love to see Google build one directly into the browser, but I will still use the ones I use.

    I can see both sides of the arguments that are around over this: 1) it is a great idea to push advertisers to play fairly and serve appropriate ads. and 2) that this could be manipulated by Google to block rivals ads in favor of their own.

    Personally I don’t care if Google does manipulate it to their own gain. It is their product and they should have the final say in how it works. However, I despise any and all ads and will continue to strive to make my browsing experience as ad free as possible. Ads, for me, do absolutely nothing to sway my opinion of a product or idea and to display them for me is absolutely a waste of that advertisers time and money because the only time I will spend on that ad is exactly as long as it takes me to block the element containing that ad, should it sneak through one of the several ad-blockers I use. On my Android device, I use them as well along with DNS66 and all of it’s host files active to create an almost ad free experience across not only my browser (Chrome beta) but almost all of my apps as well, even those that are free and contain in-app-ads.

    All in all, I have to say I support this 100% but I will still use the same ad-blocking suite I use now in addition.

  11. I was going to throw a couple of bucks your way: The patreon link in the article just points to the graphic you’ve uploaded to word press. No worries, I found the link in the side bar. You might want to fix it, though, before tons of folks read this one.

  12. Google has had a lot of opportunities over the years to generate or lose trust.

    Simple fact of the matter is, I don’t trust Google to manage the ads in my browsing experience. It’s that simple.

  13. I use uBlock Origin but usually keep it disabled to both support the sites I like and trust and to keep the number of extensions running to a minimum. But if I’m going to a site I’ve had problems with before or one I feel might be problematic, I re-enable it.

    If Google does go this route, I probably won’t uninstall my ad blocker, but it will probably get enabled even less. So for my use case, it would probably be a good thing.

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