Technology, Smartphones, Games

Google Chrome might add a built-in ad-blocking feature for its desktop and mobile versions

A report from the WSJ, claims that Google Chrome might get a built-in ad-blocking feature soon. This feature which will act as a filter to block ads, will be available for both the desktop and mobile versions of Chrome.

Google Chrome ublock

(My list of extensions)

This sounds too good to be true, so we have our fingers crossed. Now for the fine print. Not every ad will be blocked, only those which have been deemed unacceptable under the ad standards defined by the Coalition for Better ads. That is, those which ruin the browsing experience, hopefully those interstitials, auto playing video ads, ads with timers, pop-ups etc.

It will likely be the responsibility of site admins to ensure their website serves ads which meets the standards, else the ads might get blocked.

The rumour states that the ad-blocking feature could be enabled by default in Google Chrome, and that it could be announced in a few weeks.

Geekiest opinion on ad-blocking:

There is no question about it, ads are by far the biggest annoyances of browsing the internet. We are not talking about the small ad banners which many websites, including those which we have on our blog, but the  sub-standard ones mentioned above and animated ads, ads with a small close button which is almost hidden, etc.

This experience is worse on mobile phones than on desktops. Earlier today, I came across a science article from a search result. When I opened the page on my phone, an ad which covered the entire real estate of the screen was there, and I had to scroll down to view the article. This is super annoying, as it not only eats up precious bandwidth but also wastes our time. And some websites serve fake "virus found on your phone" ads, usually accompanied by a long vibration of the device, which is enough to scare the not-so-tech-savvy user. But power users are infuriated by such annoyances.

This is the reason why people use ad-blocking services such as uBlock Origin (my preferred choice), or the more popular and in my opinion the notorious memory hog, Adblock Plus (which is also rumoured to make money for allowing acceptable ads, which is a shady practice). While ad blocker extensions are available for almost every desktop browser (Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Vivaldi, Apple Safari etc), not many mobile browsers do the job. Mozilla Firefox on mobile has 3rd-party ad-blocking add-ons, while Apple Safari for iPhone etc has built-in options for ad-blocking.

But Google Chrome for mobile does not support extensions at all. I have long argued that the reason for the lack of support for extensions, is ad-blocking. Google makes money from ads, and millions of websites depend on Google for revenue from ads. So it makes sense why Google Chrome for Android does not support extensions.  More people use smartphones than desktops, so the number of ads served on mobiles would be much higher, and this in turn means more cha-ching for Google. There is nothing wrong with that, except it is the user who pays the price.

I mean that quite literally, as not all ads served on your browser are legitimate. Some ads are hijacked with malware, and Google is well aware of this problem, and is constantly battling malvertising in its own way.

Ads should not consume much of the reader's data, they should be relevant, and non-intrusive. No ad should distract the user, or cause a person to leave the page. That is all we want besides secure ads. So, it is certainly good to hear even a rumour that Google Chrome will natively support ad-blocing, and we hope it improves the user experience.