Home >technology >apps >Chrome’s ad blocker provides much needed relief from intrusive ads

Google is clamping down on intrusive advertisements with a built-in ad blocker tool in Chrome browser for desktop and mobile app. It will block all ads that do not comply with the better ads standards set by Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group entrusted with the task of protecting users against intrusive ads in the US and Europe.

The group has identified eight types of mobile ads and four desktop ads that fall in that category. The ad blocker in Chrome is built right into the browser and doesn’t require an extension to work. It also remains on all the time.

The four ad types on the desktop that fall into the category of intrusive ads include pop-up ads (a small window occupying a portion of the screen), auto playing video ads with sound, prestitial ads with countdown (they appear on the webpage for a few seconds before the actual content loads)and large sticky ads (these ads stick to the edge of the page and often take up 30% of the screen).

The eight mobile ads deemed as intrusive include pop-up ads, prestitial ads, auto play video ads with sound, postitial ads with countdown (these ads show when users click on a link on a webpage and go away after a few seconds), flashing animated ads, large sticky ads, full-screen scroll over ads and ads with >30% density (when ads take up more than 30% of the vertical space on a mobile page).

Google considers these ad types as intrusive and will block them on Chrome.
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Google considers these ad types as intrusive and will block them on Chrome.

Google is the market leader in the browser space with 56.31% market share (as of January 2018, according to Statcounter), but some of the rivals are ahead of it in terms of features. For example, Opera browser introduced an ad blocker back in March 2016 and it is not selective when it comes to filtering ads. Chrome’s ad blocker only focuses on intrusive ads.

Also, users will have to put up with some amount of intrusive ads on Chrome in the beginning, as the ad blocker won’t act against websites carrying intrusive ads right away. Google will examine a sample of webpages from every site accessed on Chrome to evaluate the quality of ads displayed on them. If a site fails to comply with better ads standards, the site owner will be warned about it and given 30 days to get rid of any ad deemed as intrusive. Google claims 42% of websites which failed to meet the standards initially got rid of the intrusive ads themselves. Websites that don’t respond or take action in 30 days will face an all-out ban on such ads on all webpages.

Ad blocker in Chrome will tell users when it is blocking ads with a notification on the screen along with the option to disable the ad-blocker, in case users want to see the ads. On desktops, this notification will appear at the top of the page while on the mobile app, it will show in a small info bar at the bottom of the screen.

A webpage with intrusive ads blocked on Chrome.
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A webpage with intrusive ads blocked on Chrome.

Online ads are a necessary evil as they are a major source of revenue for site owners and is the reason why most websites don’t charge users for accessing their content. However, the packaging of ads has become a lot more aggressive and invasive in the last few years. They distract users from work, track their activities and slow down browsing by loading high-resolution images or video ads without users’ consent. Studies have shown that webpages with fewer or no ads load faster.

Ad blocker in Chrome is one of the most awaited features.

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