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article imageGoogle confirms that Chrome is getting a built-in ad blocker

By James Walker     Jun 2, 2017 in Technology
Google has announced significant changes to its approach to online advertising. Confirming previous rumours, it has said it will enable automatic ad blocking in Chrome next year. It will also withdraw its own ads from sites that use them irresponsibly.
The changes represent a toughening of Google's stance on online ads amid criticism and growing ad-block use amongst web consumers. In a blog post today, the company came out in full support of the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry body that's attempting to guide publishers and ad networks towards a sustainable future.
Better Ads Standards
The Coalition's Better Ads Standards set out basic principles that all involved parties should follow. They describe how ad networks can make sure ads are non-intrusive. Publishers are also given advice on how to integrate ads into their pages without hindering the user experience.
The thinking behind the initiative is that just one bad site could convince a user to install an ad blocker, cutting off revenue to all the others on the web. By uniting publishers, ad networks and users, the Coalition wants to find an alternative where users can come to accept ads because they don’t cause frustration or distract from the main content.
Chrome ad block
In a major move for the company, Google said it is going to help publishers to make their websites adhere to the Better Ads Standards. For those who don't change their ways, more aggressive action is on the way, including the threat of automatic ad blocking in Google's hugely popular Chrome web browser.
After being initially rumoured a few months ago, the company has announced that Chrome is getting a built-in ad blocker. Although Google seems to be avoiding direct use of the term, it said Chrome will "stop showing ads" on websites that don't meet the Better Ads Standards from early next year.
This decision will prove highly controversial amongst users and publishers. If a site fails to prepare itself in time, it could face losing its revenue from Chrome's enormous pool of users. While the net effect over time should be positive for the wider web, the immediate consequences of the move could result in some publishers having their ads disabled.
Although Google is likely to extend grace periods to sites that are still upgrading their pages, the company is effectively forcing publishers to sign-up to the Better Ads Standards. The ad-block will apply to all on-page ads, including those from Google's own AdSense network.
Ad Experience Report
In an attempt to help publishers prepare, the company has curated resources that provide screenshots and videos of commonly annoying experiences. The new Ad Experience Report for publishers will help them to adjust their site to meet the standard, providing tips on how to stop using intrusive ad formats like auto-playing video.
Google's also addressing the scenario where sites that use ads responsibly are impacted by users who visit with ad blockers installed. The company has created a new tool that publishers who meet the Better Ads Standards can add to their webpages. When a user has an ad blocker installed, it will display a message explaining that the site's ad usage has been approved as non-intrusive.
There will be a prompt to enable ads for the site. Alternatively, the user can opt to buy a pass to remove the ads, offered through the new Google Contributor scheme. The tool is called Funding Choices and it's available in beta today in a few countries worldwide.
Today's announcement indicates that Google has come to acknowledge the consumer frustration with the way ads currently work online. By endorsing the Better Ads Standard, it has signalled it's willing to work on the side of the user, risking seeing reductions in AdSense revenue in the near term. The move to automatically block ads in Chrome will prove divisive but the company's long-term aims are evidently to create a more sustainable monetised web that works better for all.
More about Google, Google chrome, Chrome, Ads, Advertising
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