Here's yet another piece of news that makes me glad NBR has a subscription-heavy funding model: Google plans to add an ad-blocking feature to its popular Chrome web browser within weeks – and have it turned on by default, according to a Wall Street Journal report quoting unnamed insiders.
Ad blockers are already a bane for those trying to prosper in the cruel landscape of online advertising.
According to one report (albeit by a crowd pushing a tool to thwart the technology), nearly a quarter of Kiwis are now using software that blocks many web ads.
At the moment, those who want to block ads have to install a web browser extension. That’s actually straightforward but it takes several steps and involves jargon that’s offputting to mainstream users.
But Google’s apparent plan is to build web-blocking ability into Chrome, with the user required to turn it off if they don’t want it.
That could be a big step in making ad-blocking an everyday thing, as Chrome is now the world’s most popular browser by most measures and it happens to be NBR readers’ favourite too. Here are our visitor stats from the past week:
- Google Chrome: 38.30%
- Apple Safari 33.7%
- Microsoft Internet Explorer: 15.70%
- Mozilla Firefox: 4.87%
- Microsoft Edge: 3.32%
There are no prizes for guessing whether the Chrome ad-blocker will let Google’s own ads through.
But which will it block by default?
Insiders quoted by the WSJ says details are still being ironed out but the Chrome ad-blocker could “filter out certain online ad types deemed to provide bad experiences for users as they move around the web … Unacceptable ad types would be those recently defined by the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group that released a list of ad standards in March. According to those standards, ad formats such as pop-ups, auto-playing video ads with sound and ‘prestitial’ ads with countdown timers are deemed to be “beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability.”