Some media reports reveal that the next version of Google Chrome may have a built-in default adblocker intended to prevent the most intrusive online adverts. The rumors are that Google could announce the feature in a few weeks or even days, but the details are unknown, and the company may yet drop the entire plan.
At the moment, it is known that Google could outsource the definition of unacceptable adverts to the Coalition for Better Ads – an independent group recently created by a number of major advertisers and agencies. It established specific standards after the research involving over 25,000 participants.
Coalition for Better Ads bans pop-up ads, auto-play video ads with sound, prestitial ads with a countdown and large sticky ads on desktop. It also bans ads with the density greater than 30%, flashing animated ads, prestitial ads, poststitial ads with the countdown, and full-screen scrolls over ads on mobile.
So far, it is unclear how the block would be implemented: perhaps, Google will choose to block all advertising on websites that contain any offending ads, instead of blocking the offending ads themselves. As such, the publishers will be forced to ensure that all ads on their page comply with the Coalition’s criteria.
Although it may seem counterintuitive for Google to ban ads, as it makes over 85% of its revenue from advertising, in fact, this measure could help prevent users from using more aggressive adblockers. Almost all advertisements that Google serves comply with the Coalition’s standards and its keyword adverts on search pages are already regarded as the gold standard of advert acceptability.
It must be said that Google’s Chrome already blocks some adverts indirectly. This feature enabled by default in the browser and prevents pop-ups from being shown unless you whitelist a specific site. However, it blocks any pop-ups, even if they are not adverts. Besides, Chrome requires any content served using the Flash plugin to be manually activated, which also results in blocking many adverts.
If launched, the adblocker could have ramifications for the search engine’s ongoing struggles with European regulators, as the European Commissioner for Competition promised to closely follow the new feature and its effects.