Google Chrome’s ad blocker goes live today to kill annoying online ads

Google Chrome ad blocker

Google is acting against what it describes as ‘intrusive’ adverts, by firing up an integrated ad blocker in the Chrome web browser as of today, February 15.

What this means is that, when the feature goes live, Google’s browser will target and block advertisements which fail to follow the ‘Better Ads Standards’ as laid out in line with consumer research by an industry watchdog.

In other words, not all advertising will be muzzled. Normal ads will still run, which is handy, as many websites make their money from them in order to remain free to access. Only sufficiently annoying ads will get the boot.

For desktop PCs, that means pop-up adverts, sizable sticky adverts, video ads which autoplay with sound, and ‘prestitial’ ads which present themselves with a countdown, making the user wait for a period of time before they can close them and move on to view the site content.

When it comes to mobile devices, Google is being more stringent, blocking all the above – and all prestitial adverts – as well as flashing animated ads, full-screen scroll over affairs, and ‘dense’ advertisements which take up more than 30% of the vertical height of the web page.

If Chrome does block adverts, it will let the user know that ad blocking has happened, and also present an option to disable the blocking and allow adverts to come through on that particular site.

Advertising standards

More broadly, peeking behind-the-scenes, Google says it will evaluate a sample set of pages from any given site, looking for violations of the aforementioned Better Ads Standards, and awarding the site a ‘pass’, ‘warn’ or ‘fail’ status.

Site owners will be able to review a report and if they fall foul of the regulations, they can address any issues, then request that their site be re-evaluated to attempt to achieve a pass.

So, this seems like a sound move overall, as not many people will argue against having those more frustrating and annoying ads blocked.

As long as the policing of websites is carried out accurately, and there’s not too much red tape when it comes to site owners organizing a re-evaluation should they be affected, this shouldn't massively detriment publishers of your favorite websites.

Hopefully the system will play nice with websites which detect and issue warnings about ad blocking, too, because Chrome can already throw up these sort of warning prompts as it is. Should everything run smoothly, all Chrome users will benefit from a more streamlined web browsing experience with less in-your-face advertisement interruptions.

We also heard recently that this summer, Chrome will move to make the internet a more secure place by labelling unencrypted websites as ‘not secure’.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).