Chrome’s Ad Blocker is About to Get Useful

Posted on February 5, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Google Chrome, Web browsers with 22 Comments

Google Chrome includes an integrated ad blocker, but it doesn’t do much of anything. That’s about to change.

“In 2018, we started removing the ads from websites that continually show intrusive ads that violate industry standards,” Google’s Jason James writes, alluding to his employer’s partnership with the advertising industry. “Today, the group responsible for developing the Better Ads Standards, the Coalition for Better Ads, announced a new set of standards for ads that show during video content … beginning August 5, 2020, Chrome will expand its user protections and stop showing all ads on sites in any country that repeatedly show these disruptive ads.”

These disruptive, video-based ads include:

Pre-roll ads. “Long, non-skippable pre-roll ads or groups of ads longer than 31 seconds that appear before a video and that cannot be skipped within the first 5 seconds.”

Mid-roll ads. These are ads “of any duration that appear in the middle of a video, interrupting the user’s experience.”

Ads that appear over a playing video. “Image or text ads that appear on top of a playing video and are in the middle 1/3 of the video player window or cover more than 20 percent of the video content.”

I’ve written in the past that Google’s partnership with the ad industry—about 80 percent of its revenues still come from advertising—subvert any notion that Chrome’s ad blocker is anything but self-serving. But it’s hard to complain about blocking these sorts of ads. And I assume that these changes will benefit other Chromium-based browsers, too, including Microsoft Edge.

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Comments (23)

23 responses to “Chrome’s Ad Blocker is About to Get Useful”

  1. jshoq

    So, does that mean that Google is going to get rid of the "Mid-roll ads" that appear in almost all of their YouTube videos? I watched a 12 minute video last night that had 3 mid-roll ads that were 15 or 30 seconds and could not be skipped. Something tells me that those will be excluded from this. Also, the YouTube pre-roll ads cannot be skipped until 5 seconds or later, not within the first 5 seconds. I know I am being somewhat pedantic but it will affect how I feel about their trustworthiness.

  2. Stooks

    HmmmBoooolShiteeee um yeah excuse me, something caught in my throat.

    "Google Chrome includes an integrated Information gatherer" There fixed it for you. I would NEVER trust Google Chrome's ad blocking abilities....EVER.

  3. bmcdonald

    I am so glad I took Paul's advice and moved everyone here to Brave.

    No ads - of any kind - are standard for me now. Not to mention the speed boost.

    While Chrome is still tops in overall usage - I am not exactly sure why anyone would stay with it to be honest. I cannot find a single thing that I am missing from Chrome in my Brave experience.

    Just kicking Chrome's Software Reporter hard to the curb all by itself was worth the time to move.


  4. melinau

    It'll be interesting to see how this pans-out. I'm assuming that anyone who pays Google enough, and maybe follows some "guidelines" will be allowed to play Ads.

    Sounds like Business as usual from the world's greediest company.

  5. rm

    This is totally self serving and if Google wasn't an advertising company first, it would have stopped these ads a long time ago. Now they just want to stop the intrusive ads so that people will not install real ad blockers due to the irritation. So, these irritation ads are a threat to Google making money. Unfortunately, they will still let ads through that are going to try and do bad things (malware installs, etc.). YouTube made Google 15 billion in advertising in their last earnings call. YouTube does all these things, but maybe they always let you skip them after 5 seconds?

  6. wright_is

    Hmm, YouTube is guilty of all 3 of them... I often get pre-rolls that can't be skipped, then mid-roll ads and those blips of text that obscure the bottom of the video... I thought Google was part of this group and YouTube was part of Google... :-S

  7. StevenLayton

    "Beginning August 5, 2020, Chrome will expand its user protections and stop showing all ads on sites in any country that repeatedly show these disruptive ads.”

    Is the key word here "repeatedly"? So, if a video want to show ads in any of those ways just once, it'll still let it, but won't allow a second ad of the same type?

  8. dftf

    YouTube does all three so how can Google tell others what to do when it does this itself?

    If you use the YouTube phone app, or the YouTube website in a browser with no adblock on then you will see ads before a video that cannot be skipped (usually 10-15 seconds long); ads longer-than 31 seconds, which can only be skipped after 5 seconds; ads that occur during a video, sometimes multiple ads; and text/image ad banners that appear over a video and require the user to tap the X to close them.

    So they're expecting others to adhere to standards they don't themselves follow?

  9. Daekar

    Wait... Based on that description, quite a few of the ads on YouTube will be blocked. Surely they won't allow that...

  10. bill_strong

    Is no one worried about this is the Wolf herding the sheep?

  11. doon

    Maybe it's just my natural cynicism but it seems to me that Google has started to feel the pinch of Brave, the updated Firefox, and now Chredge. Nice to see them being pushed to provide a better product.

  12. Pbike908

    I would be more impressed, if there were a way to STOP ALL VIDEOS from auto playing in a Chromium browser. Sure there are half baked switches that mute or perhaps stop them based on "user interactions", however, I haven't found any of them to work. Seems to me a switch to PREVENT any media from auto playing can't be too difficult. I am perfectly capable of clicking a play button if I want to view the video or listen to the audio.

  13. anderb

    Jason James was then heard to mutter under his breath "Or you could just use Firefox with uBlock Origin and not have to deal with any of our crap".

  14. ezzy

    The surprising thing is that Chrome's ad-blocker doesn't already block all ads not served by Google.

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