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Google Won't Build Ad-Blocking Feature Into Chrome, Wants To Fix Ads Instead

Google Won't Build Ad-Blocking Feature Into Chrome, Wants To Fix Ads Instead

Google Won't Build Ad-Blocking Feature Into Chrome, Wants To Fix Ads Instead

This year, the Opera browser added an option to block online ads. The newer Brave browser goes farther, blocking them by default. But Google would rather fix the problems with ads than strip them off websites.

Google’s primary income source is ads, and its tactic is to fix what’s wrong with ads in its place of putting them off the table entirely by building an ad-blocker into Chrome, something the likes of Opera have done in the past. 

"We feel like there are a lot of challenges in advertising. There are a lot of wrong ways," Darin Fisher, vice president of Chrome engineering, said in an interview. However, he said, "If publishers and advertisers do ads the right way, it can be great for the users and for the ecosystem."

There has been a continuous battle between the pro-user experience camp that wants to avoid ads or tracking tools because they’re too disturbing and resource-consuming, and websites blocking such users because ads are the primary income for many. In August this year, there started a cat-and-mouse game among Facebook and popular ad-blocking service AdBlock Plus, where the latter would permit blocking of ads on Facebook, only for that service to render useless soon after.

Ads are a sticky problematic for the web. They give people free access to general websites like Google search and Facebook's social network, but they also can make websites load slowly, increase mobile network data costs, waste battery power, invade privacy and even deliver malware. And they can be disturbing or distracting, so it's no surprise millions of users install ad-blocking plug-ins for their browsers. 

Ads can be bad for the publishers who show them, Fisher said. "A lot of the advertising we see is unfortunate in that it probably hurts engagement," actually deterring people from using the website, he said.

It’s not just ad-blocking apps, some browsers themselves have moved to the attacking by proposing such built-in features. Opera revealed such a feature May this year, while Samsung built an ad-blocker into its own browser. Apple too presented a mechanism for third-party apps to block ads and other content in iOS 9 the year before.

Google has also tried to confine the rise of content blocking Android apps, by restoring developer guidelines that explicitly say that “apps that block or interfere with other another app displaying ads” is a violation of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement. Also, ad-blocking services have come under fire too, for permitting certain ads to pass through, for the sake of making incomes themselves. AdBlock Plus revealed an ‘Acceptable Ads’ platform that sells and serves ads to its users. 

Google is taking an initiative to improve ads with efforts like the Coalition for Better Ads, which contains other big names like Facebook. Seeing many of the world’s businesses are running due to online advertisements, the worry of consumers using ad-blocking services is graver than ever.

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