In a surprising turn of events, Google Inc. is said to be developing an ad blocker for its highly popular Chrome web browser, at least according to one report Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal, quoting people familiar with the company’s plans, claims that the ad-blocking feature would be turned on by default within Chrome but would only filter out ads Google itself deemed to provide “bad experiences” for users.
According to the report, Google may use standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group that released a list of ad standards in March that includes a ban on ad types including pop-ups, auto-playing videos and ads that run before the home page loads.
Exactly how Google will implement the ad-blocking feature is apparently still being debated within its Mountain View, California, headquarters. One option may be to block all advertising on a site that includes just one offending ad. Another option is simply to block offending ads on a given site while allowing ads Google deems acceptable.
A move by Google, a company that still to this day, despite its various “moonshots” and other products, still primarily makes its money from advertising, is, to say the least, interesting, but there may be logic in the move. Google offering blocking of ads it deems unacceptable but allowing other ads to be displayed could be a move by the search giant to encourage, or perhaps prevent, Google Chrome users from installing third-party ad blockers such as the popular Adblock Plus that block all ads on every site a user visits, including those provided by Google itself.
According to the Journal report, uptake of online ad blocking tools has grown rapidly in recent years. Some 26 percent of users in the United States now use an ad blocker, all of which block Google’s display advertising on other sites, giving Google a solid incentive to attempt to provide an alternative.