Google Chrome to block ads that drain battery and data

Google Chrome is limiting the resources a display ad can use before the user interacts with the ad. Chrome’s product manager Marshall Vale explained in a blog post that when an ad reaches its limit, the ad’s frame will navigate to an error page, informing the user that the ad has used too many resources.

This comes as Chrome recently discovered that a fraction of a percent of ads consume “a disproportionate share of device resource, such as battery and network data, without users’ knowledge, Vale said. Google considers an ad heavy if the user has not interacted with it and it meets any of the following criteria:

  • Uses the main thread for more than 60 seconds in total;
  • Uses the main thread for more than 15 seconds in any 30 second window; and
  • Uses more than four megabytes of network bandwidth.

Chrome extensively measured the ads it sees in order to determine the threshold limits for the unloading. According to Vale, the team targeted the most egregious ads, those that use more CPU or network bandwidth than 99.9% of all detected ads for that resource.

“Chrome is setting the thresholds to 4MB of network data or 15 seconds of CPU usage in any 30 second period, or 60 seconds of total CPU usage. While only 0.3% of ads exceed this threshold today, they account for 27% of network data used by ads and 28% of all ad CPU usage,” Vale explained.

google resource heavy ads

According to him, Chrome will experiment with this over the next several months and this is targeted to launch near the end of August. Vale explained that Chrome intends to give ad creators and tool providers appropriate time to prepare and incorporate these thresholds into their workflows.

Separately earlier this year, Chrome said it is blocking intrusive ad formats within short form videos from 5 August 2020. The announcement came as the Coalition for Better Ads announced a new set of standards for ads that show during video content, based on research from 45,000 consumers worldwide in eight countries representing 60% of global online advertising spending. The research found strong alignment of consumer preferences across countries and regions for the most- and least-preferred online ad experiences, supporting the adoption of a single Better Ads Standard for these environments globally. 

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