A native “Ad-blocker” will stop showing ads that are not compliant with new Better Ads Standard
The goal is to combat the rapid increase of ad-blockers like AdBlock Plus, uBlock, and Privacy Badger. When Chrome launches its native ‘blocker’ it will be on by default on desktop and mobile versions.
The Better Ads Standard addresses how ads are formatted and appear. It identifies the types of ads that are most likely to displease users – 4 types of ads on desktop and 8 types on mobile devices, including “pre-stitial ads with countdown” (those ads that ask you to wait 5-10 seconds before seeing the content of the page), “auto-playing video ads with sound,” and “flashing animated ads.”
It is clear that Google has seen how dire the public’s distaste for ads has become and is making a preemptive strike against it. As a company that makes the vast majority of its money from advertising, Google knows that 11% of internet users are using ad blockers and that number continues to grow rapidly.
If Google does not do anything they are going to continue to lose the ability to monetize millions upon millions of users.
However, Google’s idea of making ads “better” only address a tiny portion of the problem. Ads are not just annoying, they are a nightmare for security, privacy, and performance.
Last year Forbes.com famously asked readers to turn off ad-blockers, then immediately served ads that contained malware. Ads are also notoriously bloated, often using more resources than the site’s content. Sometimes ads are eating up nearly 80% of the bandwidth used to load a page.
In their announcement, Google was careful not to label their new feature an “ad blocker.” Instead they said Chrome will “stop showing ads” on sites that do not follow the new rules. It is clear Google recognizes their Better Ads program is not a competitor to fully-fledged. After all, the goal is to make ads more tolerable so that we don’t resort to blocking them.
Google will also be launching a program known as Funding Choices (part of their existing Google Contributor service) which will allow websites to charge users a fee to visit their site and keep their ad-blocker running.
These new Google initiatives are similar to what the Brave browser is attempting. However, Brave is taking a much more complete approach – offering complete ad-blocking and tracker-blocking. Brendan Eich, founder of Brave, was quick to criticize Google’s “Better Ads.”
Getting rid of annoying ads is a start, but Google is in a position to do much more. Any quest to fix online advertising must address the performance and privacy issues, instead of just making them slightly less intrusive.