Update (April 1): Microsoft has issued a statement to say that it isn't building integrated ad blocking into Edge. A Redmond spokesperson told VentureBeat: "We have no plans to build a native ad blocker into Microsoft Edge."
As for the entry on the slide which mentioned built-in ad blocking features in the browser, Microsoft said this was misleading and simply refers to the fact that extension support is coming, therefore third-party ad blocking extensions will be usable.
That seems like stating the obvious, and seeing as extension support is already on the list as top priority, it furthermore seems strange that Microsoft would make a separate entry that clearly says it's going to 'build ad blocking features into the browser'– but there you have it.
(Original story follows below).
Microsoft is planning to build ad blocking directly into its Edge browser on Windows 10, and that integration will be coming soon.
This fact was revealed at the company's Build conference in a session concerning what's coming next for Edge, where a slide was shown detailing incoming improvements ranked in terms of their importance – with number one on the list being extensions, unsurprisingly.
Extensions will be going live in the next version of Edge, which will arrive in the next major Windows 10 Anniversary Update (although they're live in preview already, in a limited form anyway) that lands later in the summer.
Integrated ad blocking is number four on the list – so a pretty high priority – and is also targeted for that same version of Microsoft's browser coming in the summer. That could render extensions like Adblock Plus unnecessary before they've even had a chance to emerge on Edge – depending on the quality of Redmond's effort, of course.
Block around the clock
Microsoft already has some anti-advert measures in Internet Explorer in the form of Tracking Protection Lists which block some ads, with Firefox offering similar measures, and of course recently we've seen other major browsers plump for integrated ad blocking.
That includes Apple's Safari on mobile, and Opera has recently baked in ad blocking on its desktop browser with the facility also planned for its mobile browser – and what's more, Opera has gone for a proactive blocker which will intervene and ask the user if they'd like to 'block ads and surf the web faster'.
All of which leaves Google's web browser looking rather out in the cold with a definite dilemma. Advertising is Google's lifeblood in terms of revenue, of course, so integrated ad blocking isn't something the company wants to go near with a barge pole – yet if these developments are ignored, Chrome runs the risk of looking outdated compared to the competition, offering slower surfing, and it could effectively become seen as the 'new IE' of the current browsing era.
Those are risks Google will somehow need to balance, but it will be a tricky juggling act to pull off to say the least.