If you’re tired of auto-playing video ads that randomly blare obnoxious ad slogans and make it obvious you’re not working when you should be, then Google is taking some serious steps to make things a little less frustrating and also less misleading. Its first and most important step is changing how its Chrome browser manages ads, building on some recent changes and taking things to another level by enhancing the built-in Chrome ad blocker.
While some people don’t want to see any ads at all, many users just want advertising to be manageable, and to no longer detract so badly from the browsing experience. That’s where Google’s efforts to make advertising less intrusive come in. Google Chrome already blocks ads that try to pop-up in new tabs along with Flash-based ads, and in 2018 Chrome will start blocking ads on sites that don’t comply with new guidelines developed by the Coalition for Better Ads.
In fact, as MSPU has discovered, Google is already testing the ad-blocking technology in its latest Chrome Canary release for both desktop and Android. The feature can be turned on by accessing Chrome settings at chrome://settings/content/ads. In addition to automatically blocking non-conforming ads, the Chrome ad blocker also allows users to manually block and allow ads for specific sites.
Some of the things that Google is working to block — or to get rid of in general — are ads that interrupt the reading process and disrupt the flow of information, ads that distract by flashing animations and playing disruptive noises, and ads that clutter up a page and make it impossible to read. Google has given a hint of what Chrome is likely to start blocking in its best practices guide, which it created to help guide web developers and publishers in how to make ads that don’t drive users away. To make things perfectly clear to developers exactly what kinds of ads to avoid, Google is creating the Ad Experience Report, which will help publishers get a handle on the Better Ads Standards and learn how to apply them to their own sites.
In addition, Google is working on a new service, called Funding Choices, that publishers can use to display a customized message to site visitors who are running ad blocker software. The message invites users to enable ads on that particular site — presuming that the standards are being followed — and offer up a paid pass that can remove those sites. The new Google Contributor is the mechanism that sites can use to charge this fee.
Fixing the ad situation is important for users, publishers, and advertisers alike. Third-party ad blockers have been around for some time, but now Google itself is getting in on the action.
Updated: Added notice that Google has implemented the ad-blocking technology in the latest Chrome Canary release.