Google to roll out ad-blocking for Chrome from 15 February

The news that Google would be unveiling a new ad-blocking functionality on its browser, Chrome, had been doing the rounds for a while, though details as to why, how and when were scarce. Now, the internet giant has announced that the new policy will be enacted from 15 February 2018.

Google to roll out ad-blocking for Chrome from 15 February

The feature will be built into Chrome, automatically removing particularly annoying adverts without the need for a third-party app, the popularity of which has skyrocketed in recent years. The policy will only apply to repeat offenders; a lone low-quality ad isn’t sufficient for Google to come down on the culpable website. The non-compliance threshold is 7.5% in the first two months, 5% in the subsequent four months, and 2.5% in the months “thereafter”.

Back in April, The Wall Street Journal hinted at imminent changes, citing anonymous sources “familiar with the company’s plans”. The suggestion was that Google was working on an update to both the desktop and mobile versions of Chrome, which would see an ad blocker baked into the browser that could filter out ads deemed to irritate users.

The company confirmed this change back in June, revealing that Chrome would stop showing all ads on websites that did not comply with their advertising policy, having just recently confirmed the starting date for implementation as 15 February 2018. 

Google already has a relationship with ad blockers. The company is part of the “Acceptable Ads” scheme offered by Adblock Plus maker Eyeo GmbH, which allows some of the ads it displays to pass through the filter – for a fee. Developing its own ad-blocking feature is going one step further, however. Other internet companies such as Mozilla have rolled out their own ad-blocking apps, but Google is in a league of its own when it comes to advertising revenue. Why would a company that generated $60 billion in revenue from online ads in 2016 want to block adverts? 

Speculation supposes that the laudable move is way for Google to curb the worrying growth of third-party ad blockers. By offering its own service within Chrome, the idea is that Google can wrestle back some control over which online ads are filtered. Given Google’s recent pledge to rethink the way it handles ads following a boycott over inappropriate ad placements, it could also be a more general show of control over its own online advertisement business. 

Google will base its judgements on standards laid out by the Coalition for Better Ads, which the internet giant joined earlier this year. The umbrella idea of the organisation is that ads for consumers should be improved, with vulgar or ostentatious ads (think full-page, flashing or unexpectedly noisy ads) discouraged and banned. 

Sites that fall short of the Google’s guidelines have been issued with the following advice: “Violations of the Standards are reported to sites via the Ad Experience Report, and site owners can submit their site for re-review once the violations have been fixed. Starting on February 15, in line with the Coalition’s guidelines, Chrome will remove all ads from sites that have a “failing” status in the Ad Experience Report for more than 30 days. All of this information can be found in the Ad Experience Report Help Center, and our product forums are available to help address any questions or feedback.”

Essentially what’s going on is that Google is targeting the most annoying adverts, in what may be a bid to disincentivise people from installing third-party apps that blanket-block all online ads. Coming to Chrome on 15 February 2018 – what better way to see off the post-Valentine’s Day blues? 

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