Google is planning on adding a built-in ad blocker to it’s popular Chrome browser.
The WSJ is reporting that Google will roll out an ad blocking feature as soon as next month. The tool will most likely be built-in to future releases of Chrome and turned on by default for all users on desktop and mobile. It will focus on blocking ad formats that are deemed unacceptable and detrimental to the user experience like pop-ups, auto-play video with sound on and certain types of prestitials. Blocking these types of ads would not affect Google’s ad business and help stop the rampant growth of 3rd party ad blockers like Adblock Plus that charge Google to allow their ads through the ad blocker.
The news is a bit surprising considering that Google is the biggest online advertising company and ad blocking negatively affects their business. However, this is actually a smart move considering that Google is losing massive amounts of advertising dollars due to Adblock Plus and others who are blocking their ads. Plus paying a ransom to these companies to unblock their ads is not very appealing. If Google controls the blocking experience, it can focus on intrusive ads and not their own that tend to be more native in functionality. This would stop the growth of 3rd party blockers because if users don’t see intrusive ads from the start, they are less likely to seek out a tool that blocks ads. There surely will be some that point out the conflict of interest and antitrust watchdogs will yell, but Google tends to thread the needle in most cases and push through products without many issues.