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Google to introduce ad blocking feature in Chrome browser

20 April 2017

Google plans to introduce an ad blocking feature that would be turned on by default in desktop and mobile versions of its Chrome browser, The Wall Street Journal, reported citing people familiar with the company's plans.

Google's move is being viewed as defensive rather than a change of heart by the company on the issue of ad blockers.

By introducing an ad blocker as a feature in Chrome, the most popular browser according to Net Market Share, the company appeared to expect users to use the default blocker rather than the blockers that had proliferated in the market. It would then allow only certain acceptable ads to be displayed, according to the Journal, which said that the feature could be announced within weeks.

According to the WSJ, adblocks had been seen as a threat to advertising companies and Google for instance paid to be a part of the ''Acceptable Ads'' programme from Eyeo, the developer of AdBlock Plus. As Google is a part of the programme, Google's search engine and some of the other ads it powered could pass through Adblock Plus filters.

The ads that would be considered acceptable would be thus defined by the Coalition for Better Ads, the  industry group, which had Google as a member. In March the group released its Better Ads Standards, that identified the kind of ad experiences that ''fall beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability.''

Meanwhile, according to commentators, while it may seem inexplicable that a company that made billions on advertising would add a feature to its own free product that would block advertising, it could also be due to Google not wanting people to download ad-blockers that it had no control over.

Almost 26 per cent of desktop users had installed some sort of software to hide advertisements, and Google did not want the number growing further.

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