Google Chrome could soon include an ad blocker

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It's news that -- on the face of it -- makes very little sense; the Wall Street Journal reports that Google is going to include an ad-blocking feature in its Chrome web browser. For a company that makes so much money from advertising this seems like something of a strange move, but in the light of recent ad controversy, it could be sensible business.

Just last month a large number of big companies started to pull advertising from Google and YouTube after finding that their ads were appearing on sites hosting extremist material. This, coupled with the fact that there is a general backlash against advertising from consumers (hence Adblock Plus pushing its Acceptable Ads program), could explain why Google is keen to be seen to be doing something that will give uses a better ad experience with greater control.

Of course, with so much of Google's income coming from ads, it's not going to be the case that Chrome will suddenly include an option to block all advertising -- that would be suicide on Google's part. The Wall Street Journal suggests that both the desktop and mobile versions of Google's web browser could soon benefit from an ad-blocker which filters out ads "deemed to provide bad experiences for users."

This is something that sounds very similar to Acceptable Ads in Adblock Plus, and it's something that's likely to go down well with users. Google has been in talks with the Coalition for Better Ads recently, working on guidelines that define what is acceptable in advertising. As the WSJ shares:

Unacceptable ad types would be those recently defined by the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group that released a list of ad standards in March. According to those standards, ad formats such as pop-ups, auto-playing video ads with sound and "prestitial" ads with countdown timers are deemed to be "beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability."

Google has not responded to the suggestion that ad-blocking could become an integral part of Chrome, but said:

We do not comment on rumor or speculation. We've been working closely with the Coalition for Better Ads and industry trades to explore a multitude of ways Google and other members of the Coalition could support the Better Ads Standards.

With Google's relatively swift development program for Chrome, it's possible that the feature could hit the browser in a matter of weeks, but as nothing has been finalized there is still the possibility that it will amount to nothing.

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