Google is working on a built-in ad blocker for its Chrome browser and could release it in a few weeks, reports The Wall Street Journal. While that seems counter-intuitive for a company that makes most of its money through advertising, it’s actually not the worst idea ever.
The feature will block certain types of ads that ruin users’ browsing experience, such as pop-ups, auto-playing videos with sound, sticky ads that take up a lot of screen real estate and prestitials that count down before you can get to the content you meant to see.
These are defined as unacceptable by an industry group called the Coalition for Better Ads, which includes members like Google and Facebook.
Google might alternatively choose to block every ad on sites that include any offending ads at all – making site owners responsible for ensuring that the ads they host are up to code.
Introducing ad blocking functionality of its own could help Google negate the need for users to install third-party extensions like Eyeo’s AdBlock Plus. The tool charges advertisers – including Google – a fee to be included in its ‘Acceptable Ads’ program and to whitelist their ads. If the search giant creates its own solution, it might eventually be able to avoid paying Eyeo or anyone else to run ads.
That could be huge when you consider the fact that ads earned Google $60 billion in revenues last year, and that Chrome accounts for nearly half all browsers used in the US. The company declined to comment at this time, but hopefully we’ll know more about its plans sooner than later.