Chrome to make pop-ups a thing of the past
In a move to make surfing the Web a less "frustrating" experience, one of the world's most popular Web browsers will today start to block all advertisements on sites that display ads deemed intrusive.
Google's Chrome now has a baked-in ad-blocker that selectively targets Web sites that include auto-play adverts, pop-up adverts that have count-down timers, or mobile adverts that take up more than 30% of the user's screen at once, among others.
Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, Chrome VP, says this move was prompted when his team received feedback from users saying annoying ads are a big source of frustration.
"Video ads that play at full blast or giant pop-ups where you can't seem to find the exit icon: these ads are designed to be disruptive and often stand in the way of people using their browsers for their intended purpose ? connecting them to content and information."
He says from today, Chrome will stop showing all ads on sites that repeatedly display these most disruptive ads after they have been flagged.
This means that even if there are some adverts on the offending sites that Google does not consider disruptive, they will also be blocked, including Google ads.
Roy-Chowdhury explains that this counter-intuitive move, as Google's business model relies heavily on online advertising, is because: "To us, your experience on the Web is a higher priority than the money that these annoying ads may generate ? even for us."
To determine which ads not to show, Chrome will follow the Better Ads Standards from the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group dedicated to improving the experience of the ads we see on the Web.
Chrome is the most-used Web browser around the world. According to Net Market Share, in January, Chrome had a 59% market share of all laptops, desktop computers and mobile devices. Apple's Safari came in second for mobile with 28% and Firefox was second for desktops and laptops with 12%.
There was some confusion from publishers who reacted on Twitter to the Google Chrome stance. Mike Masnick tweeted: "Google will block auto-play ads with sound. Which is good. As a publisher, we ban those ads on our site already. But sometimes they have gotten through BECAUSE Google's ad network let them through... So will Chrome block ads their ad team missed?"
While others said there is more chance of them visiting a Web site if it does not have these ads, Edmond Dant`es tweeted: "99% of the time [I] leave that Web site immediately when they auto-play something or give me a pop-up."
Roy-Chowdhury says all publishers can explore resources here to find out if their adverts contravene the standards. Chrome hopes this will lead to fewer users feeling the need to install ad-blockers that block every ad on every site regardless of if the publisher follows the standards or not.
"The Web is an ecosystem composed of consumers, content producers, hosting providers, advertisers, Web designers, and many others. It's important that we work to maintain a balance ? and if left unchecked, disruptive ads have the potential to derail the entire system.
"We've already seen more and more people express their discontent with annoying ads by installing ad-blockers, but blocking all ads can hurt sites or advertisers who aren't doing anything disruptive. By focusing on filtering out disruptive ad experiences, we can help keep the entire ecosystem of the Web healthy, and give people a significantly better user experience than they have today," says Roy-Chowdhury.