Is Google Killing Ad Blockers?

Palo Alto, California, USA - January 02, 2018: Google parking street/pavement sign. Title of a Google on a parking spots for Google employees in Silicon Valley.

With Google making a reported $168 billion in ad revenue in 2018, it would be no shock to see the search engine kill ad blockers.

Ad blockers can run as an extension on Google Chrome and remove or alter ads for users who are concerned about their privacy or want to protect themselves from pop-ups.

So when Google announced it was updating its policy on extensions in Chrome last year, some thought ad blockers would be on the chopping block.

The update will see a move away from the existing blocking version of the Web Request API (application programming interface) towards a new API, the Declarative Net Request.

But Google has now responded.

“There’s been a lot of confusion and misconception around both the motivations and implications of this change, including speculation that these changes were designed to prevent or weaken ad blockers,” said Google developer advocate for Chrome extensions Simeon Vincent.

“This is absolutely not the goal.

“In fact, this change is meant to give developers a way to create safer and more performant ad blockers.”

The concern with the Web Request API, according to Google, is that any extension can access all of your Chrome traffic data, even if it is not a malicious extension.

The Declarative Net Request API will force extensions to declare the requests it needs ahead of time and what action is required.

If you can’t beat them join them

Google has a complex relationship with ad blockers.

On the surface, one would think Google would simply reject ad blockers.

But over the years it has come to accept the software, launching its own version early last year.

Google’s ad blocking software only targets ads that do not conform to ‘Better Ads Standards’.

The software evaluates how well web pages comply with its standards for ads and warns sites if they are in breach.

If there is no action taken within 30 days of the notification, Chrome’s ad blocker will come into effect.

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