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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