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Google’s Chrome Browser to Start Blocking Annoying Ads Next Year

Google has started to inform publishers that it will add an ad blocker to its Chrome browser next year that aims to only filter out the most annoying ads, the company confirmed Thursday. By giving publishers advance notice, Google hopes to get them to adapt less intrusive advertising formats. The company is also offering publishers affected by ad blockers another way to monetize their content.

“t’s far too common that people encounter annoying, intrusive ads on the web—like the kind that blare music unexpectedly, or force you to wait 10 seconds before you can see the content on the page,” wrote Google ads and commerce SVP Sridhar Ramaswamy in a blog post Thursday. “These frustrating experiences can lead some people to block all ads—taking a big toll on the content creators, journalists, web developers and videographers who depend on ads to fund their content creation. We believe online ads should be better.”

Google plans to add its ad blocker to both the desktop and mobile versions of Chrome next year. However, unlike other ad blockers, Google’s goal isn’t to filter out all advertising.

The software will instead remove advertising formats that have been deemed unacceptable by the Coalition for Better Ads, a trade group that counts tech companies like Google and Facebook, but also media companies like News Corp. and the Washington Post among its members. Some of these ad formats include auto-playing video ads with sound, pop-up ads and ads that take over more than 30 percent of a mobile screen.

Google also isn’t the only browser maker to enable ad blocking. Apple tweaked its Safari browser back in 2015 to allow iPhone users to install third-party ad blockers, many of which filter out advertising altogether.

Google will now give publishers affected by these all-or-nothing ad blockers a new way to monetize their content: Publishers will be able to encourage users who have ad blockers installed to either disable them for their site, or get paid access through a new program called Google Contributor.

Still, some criticize that Google may have a conflict of interest. The company’s ads run on 16.5 percent of all websites, according to data from W3Techs.com. Filtering out other ads arguably gives publishers an incentive to run more ads from Google’s ad network. What’s more, Chrome has in recent years become the most-used web browser, and is being used by 58 percent of all internet users, according to W3Counter.com.

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