Google is about to start blocking annoying ads

Jun 06, 2017 | 12:31 PM GMT+7

Google's Chrome browser will automatically block certain ads starting next year.

Google is about to start blocking annoying ads
Photo: Business Insider

The new feature will filter out ads that have been deemed "unacceptable" by the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry coalition whose listed membership includes the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the digital ad world's leading trade group.

News of this Chrome feature was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

What are unacceptable ads? The coalition has identified four types of desktop ads and eight types of mobile ads that are particularly irksome to consumers, such as video ads that play automatically with sound, interstitial ads that take over a person's screen and countdown until they disappear, as well as flashing, animated mobile ads.

With this move to stamp out such ads, Google says it wants to clean up the web, which is a win for consumers and publishers who are trying to do the right thing.

Google's own sites will largely be unaffected by these new tools, but it's possible that other publishers that Google sells ads for as part of the "Google Display Network" will have to eliminate some of their ad inventory, said Scott Spencer, direct of product management at Google.

Of course, given Google's massive clout in the industry, many will see this move as heavy handed or self serving for the search giant. But Spencer argued that in this case, what's good for the broader digital media industry is good for Google.

"There are certain ad experiences that occur on the web that are annoying to consumers," he told Business Insider. "They are the worst of the worst that drive people to use ad blockers."

"Ad blocking is a threat to that ecosystem," he added. "It harms good publishers. Google doesn't exist without the open web. So in this case, we have aligned incentives."

What about Google's ongoing dealings with other ad blockers? Google hopes that as more people adopt the new Chrome browser next year, and the more publishers that clean up their act, the less people who will download ad blockers like AdBlock Plus.

Of course, Google has acknowledged paying AdBlock Plus to make sure that its ads are not blocked by that company's tools. Spencer said that "nothing changes" with that arrangement.