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Google begins blocking annoying ads on its browser

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US multinational technology company Google. / AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE


Google has begun a new effort to block annoying ads on its Chrome browser, as part of an initiative aimed at improving the online advertising ecosystem that provides the bulk of its revenues.

The new ad filtering system rolled out this week aims to eliminate the most irritating marketing messages such as pop-ups, auto-play video ads and “sticky” boxes which cannot be removed.

The system was implemented by Google in partnership with the Coalition for Better Ads, an association which includes the internet giant and a number of media and advertising partners.

“While most advertising on the web is respectful of user experience, over the years we’ve increasingly heard from our users that some advertising can be particularly intrusive,” Google engineering manager Chris Bentzel said in a blog post ahead of the rollout Thursday.

“Chrome will tackle this issue by removing ads from sites that do not follow the Better Ads Standards.”

While Google’s effort is expected to block only a small percentage of ads, it aims to counter a growing movement to install third-party ad blockers which filter all such advertisements and could be a threat to firms relying on online revenues.

According to a study last year by the research firm PageFair, about 11 percent of the global internet population uses ad-blocking software, affecting 380 million mobile devices and 236 million desktop PCs.

Google vice president Rahul Roy-Chowdhury said the move aims to improve the online ad system even if it means blocking some ads from Google itself.

“To us, your experience on the web is a higher priority than the money that these annoying ads may generate — even for us,” Roy-Chowdhury said in a blog post.

“The web is an ecosystem composed of consumers, content producers, hosting providers, advertisers, web designers, and many others. It’s important that we work to maintain a balance — and if left unchecked, disruptive ads have the potential to derail the entire system.”

Google and its partners in the ad coalition thus appear to be aiming to head off a consumer revolt which could choke off revenues to internet, media and advertising companies.

The Coalition for Better Ads said in a statement Thursday it “is pleased by the large number of companies in the online ad industry that have embraced the Better Ads Standards and taken action on their own and with their business partners to discontinue the ad formats consumers find most annoying and disruptive.”


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