The new ad blocker on Google Chrome is now operational. Starting this week, the Chrome browser began automatically filtering out ads that don’t meet certain quality standards. Google vice president Rahul Roy-Chowdhury wrote in a blog post that the company goal is “filtering out disruptive ad experiences.”
Google will phase in the restrictions over coming months, but website publishers have already had months to prepare. Google first floated the move back in June. The 12 ad formats chosen were all ones criticized by a group called the Coalition for Better Ads. Members of the group include Google, Facebook, News Corp. and the News Media Alliance. The industry group performed extensive research on what forms of web advertising annoy people the most.
The new feature will block ads deemed annoying or otherwise detrimental to users, such as ones that auto-play video with sound. Other ad formats that will be blocked include pop-ups, large ads that hover above the page, and ads that flash with bright background colors. However, pre-roll video ads, like the ones that run before videos on Google’s YouTube, are exempt from the new policies.
Users will see a notification when Chrome blocks ads, and can opt to view them if they want. On mobile, users will see a pop-up at the bottom of the screen that will give them the same option. Google has offered reassurances on multiple occasions that the company isn’t planning on offering any kind of paid whitelisting, where companies can pay their way onto an acceptable ads list. Disputes will be handled by the Coalition for Better Ads, not Google.
Chrome will start blocking all ads on offending sites if they don’t adhere to the new rules. It is hoped that many companies will choose to use less intrusive ad formats rather than have all of their ads blocked. Chrome is the most popular browser on the web, holding about 60 percent of the market.
Google’s aim is partly to convince people to turn off their own ad-blocking software. Ad blockers deprive publishers of revenue by preventing ads from displaying. Google dominates the online-advertising market along with Facebook. The two companies accounted for over 63 percent of the $83 billion spent on digital ads in U.S. in 2017. It is a sure bet that Google’s own most lucrative ads will not be stopped by its new filters.