Google is planning to add an ad blocker to its web browser Chrome and possibly turn it on by default for all users, the Wall Street Journal reported.
If accurate, this report suggests a conflict of interest for Google. Chrome holds over 50% of the browsing market share, according to Net Market Share, but at the same time Google’s ad services would be impacted.
Presumably, then, the browser won’t block Google ads. Instead, according to the report, Chrome will target “unacceptable ads” as defined by the Coalition for Better Ads. The Coalition for Better Ads, which counts Google and Facebook among its members, has a page of “least preferred ad experiences” up on its website. This page calls out pop-ups, autoplaying video ads with sound, interstitial ads with countdowns, and large “sticky” ads as “below the threshold of consumer acceptability.”
The Journal notes “in one possible application Google is considering” Google could block all ads on a site that doesn’t comply with the rules, rather than just block offending ads. Presumably this would stop websites from using a mix of “acceptable” and “unacceptable” ads with the hope that the “unacceptable” ads are seen by non-Chrome users, since they risk losing out on all revenue from all Chrome users.
The ad blocker will reportedly end up in the desktop and mobile versions of Chrome and would be switched on by default.
Specific details are still being finalised and the WSJ says Google could decide not to move ahead with the plan.
“We do not comment on rumour or speculation,” a Google spokesperson said. “We’ve been working closely with the Coalition for Better Ads and industry trades to explore a multitude of ways Google and other members of the Coalition could support the Better Ads Standards.”