On Thursday, Google’s Chrome browser will activate a feature for all users that removes “intrusive ads” from websites. When Google first announced the ad blocker in June, the company pointed to feedback from users who found some ads to be benign and others to be aggravating. Because people want to avoid the latter, they’ve been installing blockers that disable ads across the board, even the unobtrusive ones that publishers and other web content companies often rely on for revenue. Chrome’s new blocker is designed to separate the good ads from the bad.
In a blog post published Wednesday, Google specified the types of ads that the browser will now exclude based on standards crafted by an industry group called the Coalition for Better Ads. Research surveying more than 40,000 users concluded that there are 12 “particularly annoying” ad varieties. Four of them are common on desktops: pop-up ads, video ads that automatically play with sound, “presititial ads” that block the entire page, and “large sticky ads” that remain on the edge of a window even when a user scrolls. The other eight problem ads target mobile devices, and include those that have flashing animations or remain on the screen for a set amount of time before users can close them.
Chrome’s filter evaluates whether sites comply with these ad standards and then informs the owner if it identifies any violations. The owner has a 30-day window to remove the problem ads before the browser begins blocking all ads on the site. Google claims that 42 percent of sites that failed the initial evaluation have resolved their problems as of Feb. 12. Websites for the Lost Angeles Times and Forbes were among those to scale back ads.
As with most other ad blockers, users will have the option to white list ads on certain sites via a button on the info bar even if they don’t comply with Google’s standards, but it’s notable that now Chrome will default to barring pop-ups and other nuisances.
This is all to say that you’ll hopefully have to spend less time searching for those tiny, barely visible “x” buttons to decline dubious offers to win a $500 Amazon gift card. However, Google likely isn’t just activating the blocker just to save you a few extra seconds. As Gizmodo points out, Google itself controls about 42 percent of the digital ad market in the U.S.