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Google plans ad-blocking feature in popular Chrome browser
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-04-20 09:18:34

Alphabet Inc.'s Google is planning to introduce an ad-blocking feature in the mobile and desktop versions of its popular Chrome web browser, according to people familiar with the company's plans.

The ad-blocking feature, which could be switched on by default within Chrome, would filter out certain online ad types deemed to provide bad experiences for users as they move around the web.

Google could announce the feature within weeks, but it is still ironing out specific details and still could decide not to move ahead with the plan, the people said.

An ad-blocker from Google? Something tells me this won't go down well with antitrust regulators.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-18
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In another universe...
By M.Onty on 2017-04-20 10:18:12
Poacher gang-master applies for gamekeeper position. Doesn't mention quitting poaching. Landlord puzzled, assumes its a cynical joke, hires a nice young lady called Privacy Badger instead (despite the name).
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Could be a good thing.
By tkeith on 2017-04-20 11:23:17
As long as it's a third party deciding which ads meet the requirements this could be a good thing. Ad blocker popularity is too high for Google to ignore on the desktop and the lack of ad blocker in mobile Chrome is too obvious for users to ignore.
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I don't understand
By pedlo on 2017-04-20 11:30:53
I don't understand this sentence: "which could be switched on by default within Chrome".
It's either on or off by default. If someone has to switch it on or off, it's not a default anymore.
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RE: I don't understand
By ahferroin7 on 2017-04-20 12:08:00
I would guess it means you can set per-site preferences for whether or not it's enabled, and can then additionally set a global default.
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Comment by ahferroin7
By ahferroin7 on 2017-04-20 12:11:15
To be entirely honest, while I like the possibility of this (assuming it does actual blocking, not just filtering out 'offensive' content), I would still much prefer if they just added extension support to Chrome for Android. Most people are already using ad-blockers on the desktop version, and most of the argument for it on Android results from the fact that they have no extension support, so you need a custom build of Chromium or a different browser to do ad-blocking there.
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RE: Comment by ahferroin7
By Alfman on 2017-04-20 12:50:52
ahferroin7,

> Most people are already using ad-blockers on the desktop version, and most of the argument for it on Android results from the fact that they have no extension support, so you need a custom build of Chromium or a different browser to do ad-blocking there.

I could be wrong, but I think the underlying intentions could be to add filter definitions in such a way that deliberately or 'coincidentally' blocks non-google ads but allows google ones through, then hope that users stop using 3rd party ad blockers.

If they do block google ads, google's ad blocker might be designed to hide their own ads but replace it with a tracker giving google the telemetry data. 3rd party blockers typically block these all together. Conceivably they could even gather telemetry for non-google ads. Frankly I don't put this above google given the privacy invasions the whole industry is undergoing.
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RE: I don't understand
By Brendan on 2017-04-20 13:24:15
Hi,

> I don't understand this sentence: "which could be switched on by default within Chrome".
It's either on or off by default. If someone has to switch it on or off, it's not a default anymore.


Google get to choose what the default will be when people install Chrome. Initially I expect Google will choose "off by default" (in case there's problems/bugs), but eventually I expect Google would switch to "on by default".

Mostly, "which could be switched on by default within Chrome" makes sense if you imagine a programmer working for Google with a text editor open and their cursor over a "hypocrisy: on/off" setting that will be part of the next version of the Chrome installer.

- Brendan
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Additions
By bolomkxxviii on 2017-04-20 13:54:55
HTTPS everywhere and Privacy Badger are both available for Firefox on Android. These are useful tools to add to your arsenal.
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It's a block list
By franksands on 2017-04-20 13:55:43
It's not an ad blocker as any other current being used. It will only block specific ads considered 'bad'by the 'Coalition for Better Ads'.
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RE: Additions
By dark2 on 2017-04-20 13:59:02
I'm not sure how useful HTTPS everywhere is now that most sites automatically redirect to their HTTPS URL. It's actually become a problem when logging into free wifi services since the browser will detect the site doesn't match the certificate, so to log into free wifi you need to find a rare non HTTPS site so the browser won't complain about the redirect to the wifi login.
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