Despite advertising being one of its main revenue drivers, tech giant Google is reportedly looking at implementing its own ad blocking software in the popular Google Chrome browser, with hopes the move could improve the quality of ads found online.
The Wall Street Journal reports sources familiar with Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc’s plans say the feature could be switched on by default for both the desktop and mobile versions of Chrome.
The ad blocker may look to filter out ads that are deemed to provide poor experiences for users, according to the report. These sort of advertisements were highlighted as unacceptable in a series of guidelines released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau last October.
Google helped comprise the guidelines, which categorise pop-up advertisements and non-muted autoplay videos as disruptive ads. The initiative is pushing for “non-disruptive ad experiences”, and looks poorly upon data-intensive ads and ads with bright or flashing colours.
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The Wall Street Journal reports the feature could be revealed “within weeks”, but also says Google could choose not to go ahead with the plan.
Business owners serving ads across their websites should make sure each and every ad complies with Google’s terms, as the report suggests the ad blocker may block all ads on websites featuring unacceptable advertisements, rather than just blocking the advertisement itself.
According to Internet statistics website NetMarketShare, Google’s Chrome browser is used by 36.7% of internet users, which is much higher than the usage of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser at 12.47%.
Use of ad blockers has increased significantly over the past few years, with a report from last November revealing 27% of Australians use an ad blocking service. At the time, IAB Australia chief executive Vijay Solanki told SmartCompany he was “really surprised” by the numbers, but noted only a small percentage of websites actually served dodgy ads.
“The primary reason that people installed ad blockers is when it is packaged in with some other antiviral software, and the user just decides to go with it,” Solanki said.
“In reality, there is a tiny majority of publishers that will serve fraudulent ads. Usually, it is the less mainstream and dodgier sites that will have ads that attempt to infect your computer with malware.”