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Google Chrome to start blocking intrusive ads

Say bye bye to intrusive ads in 2018

Annoying online adverts could soon be a thing of the past on Google’s Chrome browser. A blog on the web giant’s site has outlined plans to introduce a filter that will block intrusive ads.

Google has joined the Coalition for Better Ads, which has introduced guidance, known as ‘Better Ads Standards’, on how to make online adverts better. In early 2018, Google plans to stop showing adverts on all websites that aren’t on board with the Better Ads Standards’ plan.

Google hopes that by filtering the kind of adverts that auto-play music or completely obscure the screen, people will be less likely to use ad-blocker browser extensions. These sort of tools completely remove online ads, which is the only source of funding for many websites.

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What sort of ads will be blocked?

The Coalition for Better Ads ranks each type of advert based on how much they impact the experience of using a website. It has looked at desktop and online websites and found eight types of advert which it feels are unacceptably intrusive for web users.

Desktop ads which will be filtered by Chrome:

  • Pop-up ads – they obscure the page you actually want to look at and require you to click and close them or wait a set time before they close.
  • Auto-playing video ads with sound – few online experiences are as annoying as having several tabs open and one of them suddenly starts blaring music. Finding the right tab doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to find the video on it, which can lead to closing the entire page in frustration.
  • Prestitial ads with countdown – these ads appear before you get to the page you want to look at and only disappears after a preset time.
  • Large sticky ads – adverts that take up 30% or more of the screen are another no-no for the Coalition for Better ads.

Mobile ads which will be filtered by Chrome:

  • Ad density higher than 30% – when scrolling through a page on your phone, if 30% or more of the screen is taken up by adverts, then Chrome for mobile will remove them.
  • Flashing animated ads – the Coalition don’t look kindly on ads with rapidly changing animations or backgrounds.
  • Postitial ads with countdown – these ads are similar to the prestitial ones mentioned above, but only happen when you’re following a link.
  • Full-screen scrollover ad – these ads completely cover the page while you’re scrolling, often obstructing the content behind.

What does this mean for websites?

Google is issuing ‘Ad Experience Reports’ to help publishers adapt their websites to the new guidelines. Filtering annoying ads is a good move for anyone surfing the web, but it has been met with some criticism to date.

The move could hurt smaller websites that rely on certain types of adverts for funding and questions have been raised as to whether Google, which makes a great deal of money from selling online advertising, is the best company to police it.

In Sridhar Ramaswamy’s Google blog he does say, ‘we plan to have Chrome stop showing ads (including those owned or served by Google) on websites that are not compliant with the Better Ads Standards starting in early 2018.’ This means Google may have the internet’s best interests at heart and isn’t using the ad filter as a way of pushing publishers into buying its own ads.

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