Google is reportedly developing a way to block ads directly from the Google Chrome Browser, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.
The ad blocker would be part of the Google Chrome Browser, which is the most popular browser in the US according to a January report from the federal government’s Digital Analytics Program.
Such a move could have major implications for the online ad industry and the digital media publications whose businesses rely on ads. And it could also expose Google to criticism, since the company is a major player in the display ad market and it could theoretically ‘white list’ its own ads in the Chrome browser, while excluding ads of competitors.
Nearly 25% of US internet users had an ad blocker in 2016, according to research firm eMarketer. That number is expected to climb to 30% by 2018.
Google’s rumoured ad blocker could be turned on by default for users, blocking ads that Google deems as not a good experience. According to the WSJ, the ads that don’t make the cut would be from a list of ad types as defined by the Coalition for Better Ads, which it helped create. That could mean any ads that include video ads automatically rolling with sound on or the “prestitial ads” that pop-up with a countdown before you can access the page could be blocked by Google’s new browser tool.
A native ad blocker for Chrome could cut against Google’s business interests, given the search giant generates billions in revenue each quarter from online advertising, but it could also be a strategic move to get ahead of its users downloading other ad blocking software that it doesn’t control. Already browsers like Opera come with an ad blocker pre-installed. A built-in blocker on Chrome could keep ads on websites that adhere to the Google-influenced standard of a better ad while blocking what falls “below the standard of consumer acceptability.”
According to the WSJ, Google is considering whether its ad blocker would block just the one offending ad or the entire page ad entirely. The feature is still in development though and could never be released.
“We do not comment on rumour or speculation,” a Google spokesperson said. “We’ve been working closely with the Coalition for Better Ads and industry trades to explore a multitude of ways Google and other members of the Coalition could support the Better Ads Standards.”