Google Chrome to Begin Blocking Annoying Ads Automatically

Google’s built-in ad-blocking initiative for its popular Chrome browser arrives tomorrow. Here’s everything you need to know.

What Is It?

This ad-blocking technology has been in the works for nearly a year, and it’ll finally launch across Google Chrome browsers on Thursday, Feb. 15. It is not, however, an “ad-pocalypse.” At least, not necessarily.

Basically, Google Chrome will begin automatically filtering out ads that don’t meet certain criteria or quality standards. Before today, we didn’t have much idea of what those “quality standards” would be.

In June 2017, Google first announced that it would implement some sort of ad-blocking technology into its proprietary browser. Gradually, the Mountain View company integrated ad-blocking-related features to its platform.

But now, Google has officially announced the full spectrum of blocked ads in a blog post on Wednesday.

Which Ads Will Be Blocked?

Google isn’t seeking to kill ads in their entirety. In fact, the company is arguably an advertising firm as much as it is a technology company. What Google seems to be hoping to do is to increase the quality of online advertising.

Google, along with Facebook and other juggernauts in the tech sphere, is a member of the Coalition for Better Ads. In the simplest terms, the group wants to mitigate advertising that annoys internet users — and it’s done research to identify those types of ads.

With this new initiative, Google actually seems to be taking an “ad enforcement” role across its own platform.

Beginning tomorrow, ads that will be blocked by Google’s built-in technology might include full-page ads, pop-up ads, ads with countdowns, and autoplaying-sound video ads, among others.

The initiative is notable because it’s built-in to the Chrome browser, and it’ll be enabled by default. Chrome is also the world’s most popular browser by most accounts.

Users will be able to switch “annoying ad mode” back on, in a way. But, presumably, most users won’t.

The Long-Term

You’ll undoubtedly see a different browsing experience if you’re a Chrome user. You’ll see fewer — if any — of the ads Google deems “annoying” or unqualified. But, beyond that, we’re not sure of the long-term implications of the move.

For one, we might see less use of third-party ad blockers. That’ll be good for all of the websites and online publications that you love to browse and read — the vast majority of which survive on ad revenue.

But, hopefully, the most positive outcome of Chrome ad policy is a “raising of the bar,” so to speak, for ad quality across the board. If annoying ads are being automatically blocked, it might push advertisers to stop relying on them — and to improve them for the future.

iDrop News

Google’s Chrome ad blocking arrives tomorrow and this is how it works

Google is enabling its built-in ad blocker for Chrome tomorrow (February 15th). Chrome’s ad filtering is designed to weed out some of the web’s most annoying ads, and push website owners to stop using them. Google is not planning to wipe out all ads from Chrome, just ones that are considered bad using standards from the Coalition for Better Ads. Full page ads, ads with autoplaying sound and video, and flashing ads will be targeted by Chrome’s ad filtering, which will hopefully result in less of these annoying ads on the web.

Google is revealing today exactly what ads will be blocked, and how the company notifies site owners before a block is put in place. On desktop, Google is planning to block pop-up ads, large sticky ads, auto-play…

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The Verge – All Posts

Apple Approves Data Throttling Detection App After Blocking It

Apple has reportedly changed its mind about blocking an iOS app that claims to be able to detect net neutrality violations and data throttling.

The app is called Wehe, and it was created by a Northeastern University researcher named David Choffnes. And while its premise of detecting data throttling seems straightforward, Apple allegedly blocked the app from its iOS App Store, Motherboard reported early Thursday morning.

Why Was Wehe Blocked?

An App Store editor got in contact with Choffnes and told him that his app had “no direct benefits to the user.” The only explanation for the refusal was that the app contained “Objectionable Content” — which Motherboard reports is a catch-all for apps that Apple just simply doesn’t want to approve.

But after Motherboard’s piece, Apple apparently told Choffnes that his iPhone app will be allowed in the App Store after all. Apple asked the researcher to provide technical descriptions of how the app works. After about 18 hours, Wehe was approved for the App Store.

When contacting Choffnes, Apple said that its reviewers have to deal with many fraudulent apps that don’t do what they claim to. “The conversation was very pleasant, but did not provide any insight into the review process (that) led the app to be rejected in the first place,” Choffnes told the publication.

What Does the Wehe App Do?

As for the Wehe app itself, it’s a simple platform that supposedly lets users know if they are being throttled by telecom companies and internet providers. Choffnes said he created the app after years of reverse-engineering ISP data throttling measures. And with the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality, the public seems primed for an app like Wehe.

When the app is first opened, users must consent to having their speed data used in Choffnes’ research. But after that, the app tests download speeds from a slew of popular platforms, including YouTube, Amazon, Netflix and Spotify. The app will then let users know if those services are being throttled by their providers.

Net Neutrality Repeal Concerns

That point may prove to be important since the FCC had previously claimed that “consumer backlash” could deter ISPs can taking advantage of net neutrality repeal. Of course, without the tools necessary, it’s basically impossible for users to know whether or not their data is actually being throttled.

Worryingly, while the repeal of net neutrality isn’t slated to actually take place until later this year, Choffnes’ researcher suggests that ISPs already throttle data to a certain degree.

The battle for net neutrality may seem hopeless for many internet users — despite the fact that it’s a conflict that’ll likely soon end up in the courts. But a simple app like Wehe could give outraged consumers a small sense of agency. And while Wehe doesn’t appear to be on the App Store currently, it’s likely to show up soon.

Knowledge is power, as they say, and being able to tell that their data is being throttled is likely to be important to many net neutrality proponents.

iDrop News

Chrome Browser will start blocking ads on February 15

Google announced an initiative to begin blocking ads with its Chrome browser back in June. This announcement entailed that the usage of ad blocker extensions on Chomre has been on the rise and continues to do so. Since Google is a company that makes the majority of its money on advertising, it wants to make sure that web surfers can have a pleasant, unobtrusive experience without overly annoying ads. Google will begin to block all ads from websites seen with the Chrome browser (including its own ads) starting on February 15, but only on one condition: the website doesn’t pass Google’s…

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