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Chrome could block ads

News, 21 April 2017
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: Google may introduce an ad-blocking feature to its Chrome web browser within the next few weeks, according to reports.

If they choose to avail themselves of the feature, users would be able to filter out unacceptable ad types – which would effectively be those listed recently by the Coalition for Better Ads – people familiar with the company's plans told the Wall Street Journal.

Last month the Coalition for Better Ads highlighted six desktop web ad experiences and 12 mobile web ad experiences that it said, based on based on the reactions of 25,000 consumers to 104 ad experiences, fell below "a threshold of consumer acceptability".

As well as blocking individual ad types Google is also said to be looking at a more punitive approach that would block all advertising on sites with any offending ads, an tactic that would place the onus on publishers to ensure the advertising they carry is of sufficient quality or risk losing almost all their revenue.

If Google does go ahead with its own ad filter – the Journal's sources indicated it was still undecided and the company itself declined to comment – it would be a defensive measure for a business reliant on online advertising.

The use of third-party adblocking software is growing – as many as 26% of US desktop users deploy it – and Google has had to pay some software makers to ensure the advertising it powers can pass their filters.

But as Google's Chrome browser is widely used around the world, industry observers suggest that having ad-filters within it could give Google more control over the ad-blocking situation.

Separately, Google has launched Smart Display, an ad product that had been in beta for several months and which uses machine learning to improve ad decisioning and does so at scale.

"Machine learning and artificial intelligence are really at the heart of what we're doing at Google, which you're seeing play out in analytics, Google Assistant, Maps, and it's certainly relevant for ads, too," Brad Bender, VP of product management for Google, told Ad Exchanger.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal, Ad Exchanger; additional content by WARC staff

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