Google moves to block 'annoying' ads in browser

Google is stepping up efforts to filter out annoying online ads as part of an effort to improve the browsing experience
Google is stepping up efforts to filter out annoying online ads as part of an effort to improve the browsing experience

Google is working to block "annoying" ads in its Chrome browser, part of a broader effort by industry players to filter out certain types of marketing messages that draw complaints.

"We believe online ads should be better. That's why we joined the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group dedicated to improving online ads," said Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google's for advertising in a blog post Thursday.

"In dialogue with the Coalition and other industry groups, we plan to have Chrome stop showing ads (including those owned or served by Google) on websites that are not compliant with the Better Ads Standards starting in early 2018."

Google's move, in the works for some time, could end up reducing some ads served and impact its own revenue, but it aims to improve the overall web experience and discourage third-party ad-blockers that could have a more dramatic impact.

Ramaswamy noted that "annoying" ads prompt some people to use ad-blockers that stop all advertising content, hurting revenue for .

"The vast majority of online content creators fund their work with advertising," Ramaswamy said.

"That means they want the ads that run on their sites to be compelling, useful and engaging—ones that people actually want to see and interact with."

But he noted that "it's far too common that people encounter annoying, intrusive ads on the web—like the kind that blare music unexpectedly, or force you to wait 10 seconds before you can see the content on the page."

Google is a founding member of the Coalition, which was formed last year and aims to maintain the online advertising ecosystem while eliminating ads that many find irritating.

The group released guidelines earlier this year for ads on both mobile and desktop.

But some analysts say it will be difficult for Google and others to set standards that please all parties.

"It's smart for Google to be part of the push for limited ad blockers even if that may seem counterintuitive, because if it can focus that activity on egregious ads rather than all ads indiscriminately, it has a much better shot at protecting its own massive ad revenue than if others take more of a blanket approach," said Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research.

"We can be certain that none of Google's own sites or ad formats will be affected by this filter, but we can also guess that there will be something of an outcry from publishers feeling that Google is favoring itself while disadvantaging others. It's going to be fascinating to watch this play out over the next few months."

According to the research firm eMarketer some 27.5 percent of US internet users will use ad blockers this year.

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© 2017 AFP

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User comments

Jun 02, 2017
I'd rather go back to usenet if ads can't be blocked. I already pay for my Internet usage. Being spammed by ads is paying twice. IMHO.

Jun 02, 2017
I'm not opposed to ad supported sites. But when the ads destroy the experience by slowing down loads, interfering with reading the page, auto playing, etc. Then they become a problem. (All those sites that hang like leaches on a web page also constitute a security risk if one of them becomes compromised.) -- cont.

Jun 02, 2017
Seems like a better way would be to attack it from the search engine side instead of the browser. Let users rate sites for various annoyance factors. Then let them choose how much their ratings and those of other users should factor into weighting their search results. Sites whose ad behavior is widely considered atrocious will simply disappear from the top of participating users' search results. The voting stats could be published for site owners or made public. Think THAT would get the attention of site owners?? The nice thing about it is that there is no ad/ad blocker arms race. This is driven by opinion of site visitors. This does have the problem of possibly having the rating system get gamed. Also, how to figure out site volume so as to properly scale rating tallies. hrrrrm. And of course, it's still largely Google in control.

Jun 02, 2017
I already pay for my Internet usage. Being spammed by ads is paying twice. IMHO.
Same complaint about US cable TV.

Jun 02, 2017
You know, when I'm surfin' I don't mind well-mannered and tasteful advertisements. Their purpose, rather than entice me to that which I do not need, is to inform me of what I might want and might not know about. That's a Good Thing.

All advertising is not bad. It's the distasteful and loudly repeating ones that attract my ire.

Jun 02, 2017
I don't mind small static ads that are relevant to the content, but as soon as an ad contains motion (or gets in the way of my reading), I block it. If an ad blares sound at me I make a note NEVER to buy from that company, as well as blocking the add, and if it happens again on the same web site I block ALL ads on that site.

Jun 02, 2017
I've never found an ad for something i'd be genuinely interested in, I'm not the target audience of anyone willing to pay for broad acre coverage. And yet I'm made to feel like I'm killing the internet because I use an adblocker that stops noise with no signal attached.

No! - I don't want 'Great deals on kitchens in Glasgow...' because I'm a million frikken miles from Glasgow!

Jun 02, 2017
Excellent... that will keep the KGOP grifters out.

Jun 03, 2017
I don't mind ads that support sites, it's that so many of them are super intrusive and affect loading times.

Jun 03, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Jun 03, 2017
Google is an Advertising Company. That is where their profits come from. I highly doubt their intentions are to help the lowly web user. Instead, the intent appears to be to maximize profits by blocking the competition.

Secondly, google can easily filter out the spam sites in their index, but they don't.

A little history... google got its start as an "ad-free" search engine when many other search engines were already established. They grabbed the webhits from altavista + webcrawler back in the early 2000's because they didn't have ads in the search results ... but their search results were mediocre at best and its only gotten worse. The autocomplete is horrible.

Jun 03, 2017
@RealScience, you need a good ad blocker. I like NoScript, personally; the most irritating ad practice is cross-site advertising, which makes use of cross-site scripting (XSS). This type of scripting is a security violation, and preventing it is a priority.

You might find NoScript a bit unwieldy; it requires regular attention when you visit a new site, and as sites add new attempts to send ads to you by various means, but it also lets you pick and choose which ad sources you allow. I don't find myself generally irritated by ads that come from the site I'm viewing, and since this allows the site operators to gain a moderate and fair income I tolerate it. In addition since these ads are connected with the site, they're generally topical.

Unfortunately for your preferences, NoScript doesn't distinguish ads that block the content, nor ones that move; however I find these generally aren't on the types of sites I frequent. Your mileage may vary.

Jun 03, 2017
I don't mind small static ads that are relevant to the content, but
ever tried a HOST file?
i don't even use ad block and i usually don't see ads
the only "ads" i ever see are on FB or in G-mail - and i don't see those ever disappearing

because I'm a million frikken miles from...
i used to have this problem too

maximize profits by blocking the competition
it is a very effective tactic
The autocomplete is horrible
but it can be highly entertaining as well
(i never use it but i've seen some hilarious screencaps)

Jun 03, 2017
@RealScience, you need a good ad blocker...
... I don't find myself generally irritated by ads that come from the site I'm viewing, and since this allows the site operators to gain a moderate and fair income I tolerate it.

I don't blanket-block for exactly that reason. But when I look at a dozen articles on a given site and see the same distracting motion-filled ad on each one, I definitely block, and if it is too egregious I make it a more general block.
ever tried a HOST file?

Wouldn't the result be a roll-your-own ad-blocker with about the same effect as a commercial ad blocker - not fetching content from a list of addresses or address patterns?
Is there is a significant advantage?

Jun 04, 2017
Is there is a significant advantage?
i can't speak for others, but...from my personal experience only: with ad-blockers i had a problem with hang-ups and loading, and i often had certain pop-ups and other ads that annoyed the sh*t out of me

but with a HOST i never see ads on most sites at all, and though some sites i can't avoid the ads (facebook, g-mail), most ad's simply show an error message and i've never had a hangup since

EDIT: the "ads" i usually see on FB, youtube or g-mail are the ones people see once i log in based on what i am reading or viewing, etc
just FYI

Jun 04, 2017
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