Adblock Plus back on Android, giving Google Play the cold shoulder

When Adblock Plus launched in November for the Android platform, it gained a lot of praise from users as it was able to block ads at web and app level. But Google took exception to this and started to remove any and all Adblocking apps from their Play store, stating they violated section 4.4 of its Developer Distribution Agreement.

Well now, the app is back in with a firm middle digit pointed at Google, although you will need to side-load the app to avail of it’s features and functionality.

When Google argued that the Adblocking applications interfered “with or access another service or product in an unauthorized manner,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation was unimpressed. At the time they said:

[The move] demonstrates that Google is willing to censor software and abandon its support for open platforms as soon as there’s an ad-related business reason for doing so.

Adblock Plus posted a blog saying they were shocked by Google’s actions, but that a new version of the app would soon be made available. Well, that day has come. And even though the app’s noticability will be less, now that it’s not on the Play store, Adblock Plus are asking previous downloaders to manually install the app – it comes with automatic updates for future versions.

Source: The Next Web | Image courtesy of Adblock Plus

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The real issue here (beside ads been blocked) is that this app and others alike redirects your data traffic using a proxy and can potentially gain access to banking info, and other sensitive data, also there are apps that malfunction when ad blocker is installed on android devices... its not just about block ads but security also...
I don't support the move by Google but Ad block apps must review how the interact with others apps and find a way to fix and clear their code so there's no chance people data gets compromised.

I support AdBlockPlus and even use it almost everywhere, but the issue presented here is more moral.

What I write here below is MY train of thought when I re-considered ad-blocking.

"How immoral is for people to use something and not pay for it?
News sites and sites in general, free apps for their cellphones and tablets, even computers.
This matter almost resembles software piracy."

"Ads provide income not only for Google (or Apple, or Microsoft, etc.) but for app developers everywhere who offer their apps for free in exchange for seeing a commercial or two."

"How can someone cope with watching television commercials and not cope with a banner or a pop-up ad?"

After considering my pay per use (which was mostly zero) of certain apps and sites, I decided to un-ad-block many of my frequent used apps and sites. But that's just me...

Edited by theokent, Mar 21 2013, 1:49pm :

theokent said,
I support AdBlockPlus and even use it almost everywhere, but the issue presented here is more moral.

What I write here below is MY train of thought when I re-considered ad-blocking.

"How immoral is for people to use something and not pay for it?
News sites and sites in general, free apps for their cellphones and tablets, even computers.
This matter almost resembles software piracy."

"Ads provide income not only for Google (or Apple, or Microsoft, etc.) but for app developers everywhere who offer their apps for free in exchange for seeing a commercial or two."

"How can someone cope with watching television commercials and not cope with a banner or a pop-up ad?"

After considering my pay per use (which was mostly zero) of certain apps and sites, I decided to un-ad-block many of my frequent used apps and sites. But that's just me...

I DONT deal with tv ads. I watch my tv on a delay, usually 5-10 minutes just to skip most ads. I like to think my $250 bill a month covers that.

Ads are perfectly fine and I whitelist some websites entirely. Although I'm quite persistant in blocking flash ads. Cause even on ' good' websites I encounter quite regulary the sound making sh*t ads. Or the 'inscreen popup' flash ads. I do not trust these and also for my own security will block flash ads on website where I will encounter these.

Fine if you want to earn some money, be my guest. But bugging your users is the wrong way of doing so. And unfortunaly some sites have no real alternative (or a worse one).

theokent said,
I support AdBlockPlus and even use it almost everywhere, but the issue presented here is more moral.

What I write here below is MY train of thought when I re-considered ad-blocking.

"How immoral is for people to use something and not pay for it?
News sites and sites in general, free apps for their cellphones and tablets, even computers.
This matter almost resembles software piracy."

"Ads provide income not only for Google (or Apple, or Microsoft, etc.) but for app developers everywhere who offer their apps for free in exchange for seeing a commercial or two."

"How can someone cope with watching television commercials and not cope with a banner or a pop-up ad?"

After considering my pay per use (which was mostly zero) of certain apps and sites, I decided to un-ad-block many of my frequent used apps and sites. But that's just me...

If I couldn't block ads in apps I wouldn't install them, and TVs don't have a banner ad over the top of the program you're watching, if they did I wouldn't watch TV, plus the channels with adverts are not paid for by your license, BBC is paid for with the license and there are no adverts

I would be perfectly happy living without anything that has adverts if I couldn't block them in one way or another, luckily there are plenty of talented people out there who hate ads as much as me and make the world a better place by killing them.

Adfree is still available on Play, however unfortunately it uses a host file solution and doesn't deal with the obtrusive ads in Angry Birds.

Javik said,
Adfree is still available on Play, however unfortunately it uses a host file solution and doesn't deal with the obtrusive ads in Angry Birds.

I don't remember seeing any Ads in Angry Birds and I use AdFree

Been a while since I played it though, which ads are they? The ones that appear between levels or something ?

Sometimes they appear at the top of the screen in a banner that rolls out, which is annoying because you're playing the game, you go to wind up an bird, but suddenly the ad appears, now you're hitting the ad, and basically stopping the game to load whatever ad is being displayed all through a misclick. It's like... aren't ads supposed to be something you see interesting, THEN click? Isn't this a bad model if your clicks are obtained through accidents instead of intentional clicks?

These days, it seems ads are focused on tricking you to click something rather than improving up themselves to show you something you might actually want.

They arent the only ones, most of the big players in the ad blocking community have gone with either other stores or made their own updaters.

Ads are so intrusive and common throughout every device, if there were not apps to remove them, I think I would give up on every single one of them.

I wish someone would create adblock for tvs

-adrian- said,
try sky

They are a PITA too, my gf's family has sky and they get nothing but grief from them for stupid things like using an extension lead for the phone

as MS are pushing "Microsoft Advertising SDK for Window 8",
so MS will bann the Adblock from Windows 8 (and windows Store) too?

Don't think so since most MS revenue is not behind ads but in software. But you can never know, maybe they won't allow it in the first place.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
Don't think so since most MS revenue is not behind ads but in software. But you can never know, maybe they won't allow it in the first place.

MS wouldn't allow any kind of app that could get into another apps sandbox... that's pretty obvious.

ingramator said,

MS wouldn't allow any kind of app that could get into another apps sandbox... that's pretty obvious.

Blocking ads via the hosts file doesn't gain access to any apps sandbox

Detection said,
Blocking ads via the hosts file doesn't gain access to any apps sandbox

But some sites being changed in the host file are reverted, doubleclick being one of them. (In w8 only)

Detection said,

Blocking ads via the hosts file doesn't gain access to any apps sandbox

True, I was confusing APBs method with another. I don't know if MS would block this or not? Either way I think it would be more or less to protect devs as opposed to their cash flow from ads.

n_K said,

But some sites being changed in the host file are reverted, doubleclick being one of them. (In w8 only)

Reverted? You mean Win 8 bypasses the hosts file? Or doubleclick has some method of redirecting if it is blocked ?

Some ads in WP7 apps change their URL when you block one of them, but its just a number infront of the URL, so if I block r.msn.com in the router, then 12345.r.msn.com is still blocked

http://localhostr.com/files/aUgCISU/GEDC1241.jpg

ingramator said,

True, I was confusing APBs method with another. I don't know if MS would block this or not? Either way I think it would be more or less to protect devs as opposed to their cash flow from ads.

Don't think they could block it unless they stopped using the hosts file for filtering, or removed access to it forcing users to root/jailbreak windows, can't see that going down well though

Detection said,
Reverted?

probably he mean this one:
http://www.neowin.net/forum/to...indows-8's-hosts-file/

its fault of Windows Defender's default settings not exactly w8 per see.

But if MS can & already do this, somewhere in the near future,
MS just might expand this 'unblock' to something that profiting Microsoft, at expense of Windows 8 users.

EDIT: it seems i can't properly put the link due to non-ascii characters in thread title.

Torolol said,

probably he mean this one:
http://www.neowin.net/forum/to...indows-8's-hosts-file/

its fault of Windows Defender's default settings not exactly w8 per see.

But if MS can & already do this, somewhere in the near future,
MS just might expand this 'unblock' to something that profiting Microsoft, at expense of Windows 8 users.

EDIT: it seems i can't properly put the link due to non-ascii characters in thread title.

Thanks, link worked fine, if that is possible in 8 then even more reason to run a decent firmware on the router, DD-WRT startup script, MS have no control over that

[The move] demonstrates that Google is willing to censor software....

surely adblock itself also 'censors' the ads out of software though?

There is a difference between a end user choosing to ignore/block something vs an organization blocking something for its own reasons, thereby limiting the end user's options.

CJ33 said,
There is a difference between a end user choosing to ignore/block something vs an organization blocking something for its own reasons, thereby limiting the end user's options.

There should be a middle ground between users' choice to block ads and developers choice to rely on ads to support a free app without Google itself boicotting their source fo revenue by allowing apps on the store whose only purpose is exactly that.

And this is the middle ground: if you want to block ads you can, but sideloading and not straight from the store.

completely agree with what your saying. just advising the OP of the difference

ichi said,

There should be a middle ground between users' choice to block ads and developers choice to rely on ads to support a free app without Google itself boicotting their source fo revenue by allowing apps on the store whose only purpose is exactly that.

And this is the middle ground: if you want to block ads you can, but sideloading and not straight from the store.

Android is still an open platform geniuses - it's not like they've banned the app from being able to install itself entirely. Google Play was never stated by Google to be an "open platform", simply an app store. It still has terms and conditions to abide by if you want to publish your app in there, which this app didn't do.

The Teej said,
Android is still an open platform geniuses - it's not like they've banned the app from being able to install itself entirely. Google Play was never stated by Google to be an "open platform", simply an app store. It still has terms and conditions to abide by if you want to publish your app in there, which this app didn't do.

Dude I'm sorry but Google isn't the angel you think they are. When there is potential to hurt their sole revenue stream, ads, consumers must lose. If it were "open" they wouldn't put restrictions on the Play store for applications that genuinely help people.

ingramator said,

Dude I'm sorry but Google isn't the angel you think they are. When there is potential to hurt their sole revenue stream, ads, consumers must lose. If it were "open" they wouldn't put restrictions on the Play store for applications that genuinely help people.

That's exactly what he's saying. Android itself is open insofar that you can easily side-load apps, but the Google Play store is a proprietary marketplace like the Windows and iTunes stores.

<sarcasm>How dare Google remove something that harms their store (and app developers) profits!</sarcasm>

I'm not saying I'm happy about it, but I understand why they did it.

ingramator said,

Dude I'm sorry but Google isn't the angel you think they are. When there is potential to hurt their sole revenue stream, ads, consumers must lose. If it were "open" they wouldn't put restrictions on the Play store for applications that genuinely help people.

Apparently reading isn't your forte. He specifically stated that Google Play has never been "open". No one ever said it was suppose to be. As per usual, you're simply trolling another Google related article.

As for your ridiculous statement "restrictions on applications that genuinely help people", the developers use ads as a form of revenue...I suppose they're "not the angels you think they are" either, are they? My personal opinion about ad blocking aside, with this decision Google is actually helping several of their developers. Not just their own ad revenue (Which btw is next to nothing since there are no ads placed by Google throughout the OS).

nekkidtruth said,

Apparently reading isn't your forte. He specifically stated that Google Play has never been "open". No one ever said it was suppose to be. As per usual, you're simply trolling another Google related article.

As for your ridiculous statement "restrictions on applications that genuinely help people", the developers use ads as a form of revenue...I suppose they're "not the angels you think they are" either, are they? My personal opinion about ad blocking aside, with this decision Google is actually helping several of their developers. Not just their own ad revenue (Which btw is next to nothing since there are no ads placed by Google throughout the OS).

I can read quite clearly thanks but I think you'll find that most adblock users don't know what sideloading is which detracts from the "openness" of the platform. The Play Store is the default application for gettings apps and you have to go out of your way to change that... I personally think it should NEVER have been allowed in. I'm all for devs getting ad revenue, I am one, but this isn't about devs loosing money its about Google loosing money because I don't know if this is new to you but Google get paid big time to show ads and devs only get a percentage of the profits they make for showing them in their apps. So no its not about devs its about their own revenue, thats why they've pulled it otherwise they wouldn't have let it go for this long.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post properly, I really appreciate it!

PS: Nobody is an angel when it comes to business, that's business 101.

The Teej said,
Android is still an open platform geniuses - it's not like they've banned the app from being able to install itself entirely. Google Play was never stated by Google to be an "open platform", simply an app store. It still has terms and conditions to abide by if you want to publish your app in there, which this app didn't do.

If the Play store isn't 'open' that what excuse are you going to use for all the malware and other junk on there?

ingramator said,

I can read quite clearly thanks but I think you'll find that most adblock users don't know what sideloading is which detracts from the "openness" of the platform.

You just provided unequivocal proof that you do not know what you're talking about. Nearly all of the adblock apps, including Adblock Plus, require the phone to be rooted. To root the phone the user MUST know something about side-loading apps. I doubt you know anything about Android, you simply want to bash Google at any opportunity.

ingramator said,

If it were "open" they wouldn't put restrictions on the Play store for applications that genuinely help people.

Developers reliant on such adverts being displayed disagree...

fuzi0719 said,
You just provided unequivocal proof that you do not know what you're talking about. Nearly all of the adblock apps, including Adblock Plus, require the phone to be rooted. To root the phone the user MUST know something about side-loading apps. I doubt you know anything about Android, you simply want to bash Google at any opportunity.

Most people with rooted androids know jack **** about IT, android and barely know what a Google is. They hear it from friends, follow a video tutorial for their specific phone and android version and follow it step by step.

And if they can do all that, friends, videos or other means, without knowing jack about IT, I'm sure they would also find out about adblockplus and how to sideload it.

ingramator said,

If it were "open" they wouldn't put restrictions on the Play store for applications that genuinely help people.

Applications that help people to interfere with the source of revenue of the author of the app they are using.

If you don't want ads you can just not use apps that show ads.

You mean the ones that can be reported and end up getting removed by Google for TOS non-compliance?

An open platform means anything goes, all the time. Just because Google Play has a few issues with some dodgy malware apps occasionally getting in, it doesn't mean it's an open platform.