Google is reportedly planning to integrate an ad-blocker into its Chrome web browser - a move that would present some interesting implications for digital advertising companies, online publishers, and for Google itself.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google - which makes most of its money from online ads - intends to enable its ad-blocker by default in the desktop and mobile versions of its hugely popular browser, which has almost 60% share of the desktop browser market. At first glance, it might appear that Google would be shooting itself in the foot with such an unusual decision.
But the report claims that Google isn't interested in 'blanket' blocks for all online ads. Rather, it seems the company intends to target "unacceptable ads", identified under guidelines established by the Coalition for Better Ads, of which Google is a member. Ads that are deemed unacceptable in some way - for example, pop-up countdowns that force you to view an ad before the page loads, or auto-playing videos - would end up being blocked by the browser.
Citing unnamed sources, the report also claims that Google is still considering how best to implement its plans. "One possible application" would involve blocking every ad on a site if just a single ad on one of its pages failed to comply with the requirements for what is considered "acceptable".
If it goes ahead with its plans as rumored, Google would instantly become the world's largest ad-blocker, while at the same time remaining the world's largest provider of online ads, giving it an extraordinary amount of control over the global ad market, while potentially undermining existing services such as AdBlock Plus.
Google could potentially generate additional revenue through its ad-blocker by offering a similar 'paid whitelist' program to AdBlock Plus, which allows advertisers to pay for their "respectful and useful" ads to continue appearing on web pages even with the ad-blocker enabled.
Please note: If you use ad-blocking software we would greatly appreciate it if you whitelisted Neowin. Advertising enables us to continue the Neowin community. Neowin offers low-cost subscriptions, which support us while removing advertising without the need for extra software. You'll also see fewer ads across the site if you register (free!) as a member and log in.
Source: The Wall Street Journal