Google is planning to add an ad blocker to its web browser Chrome and possibly turn it on by default for all users, the Wall Street Journal reported. This includes pop-ups and auto-playing video ads, in addition to other ad types.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau, an industry trade group of which Google is a member, has likened the cottage industry of ad-blocking companies to "highway robbery", "terrorists", and "inner city crack dealers" on various occasions.
Why an ad-blocker from Google, which depends on ad revenue?
The Journal notes "in one possible application Google is considering" Google could block all ads on a site that doesn't comply with the rules, rather than just block offending ads. Google has seen the reports that as many as 26% of desktop users have some sort of software to hide advertisements and it doesn't want that number getting any larger.
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In the U.S. Chrome has almost 47.5% of the browser market across all platforms, according to online analytics provider StatCounter. Its closest competitor is Safari with 14 percent and the rest are struggling with single digits.
Another thing that Google doesn't like is that services like Adblock Plus offer programs that allow companies to pay their way onto an "Acceptable Ads" list. However, it's cautioned that Google could still decide to scrap this project. But that also raises some alarm bells when it comes to Google's consolidation of power in this situation. The sources indicate that Google hasn't ironed out all of the details yet, and that it may not ultimately go through with the feature.
Google's goal here seems clear: to reduce the use of ad platforms other than its own and punish sites who create a less than desirable experience for users. The report claims the feature could launch as soon as the coming weeks and would come to both the desktop and mobile versions of Chrome.
What are your thoughts on a built-in ad-block tool in Chrome? Stay tuned with us for more updates on the story.