back to article Google's 'adblocker' is all about taking back control

The world's biggest digital advertising company Google is reportedly building an ad-blocker into Chrome – and it's already attracted the attention of Europe's most important competition regulator. The WSJ claimed the functionality could arrive in both desktop and mobile versions of Chrome, although a final decision on …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    And even if they do push this out, still run your own HOSTS file to block the rubbish Google finds inoffensive !!!

    1. William 3 Bronze badge

      I recommend running a HOSTS solution at the router level

      I've been running a-b solution on my Asus AC68U for several years now, since it was first developed on small network builder forums.

      I really recommend it.

      It protects every device in the house, including android phones.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        You'd have to do deep packet inspection for SNI. Do those consumer grade routers even have the guts for that?

      2. TheVogon

        Re: I recommend running a HOSTS solution at the router level

        "I've been running a-b solution on my Asus AC68U"

        How does that block adverts delivered via SSL - as many are now transitioning to?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I recommend running a HOSTS solution at the router level

          "How does that block adverts delivered via SSL - as many are now transitioning to?"

          You have your firewall open to incoming SSL?

          1. TheVogon

            Re: I recommend running a HOSTS solution at the router level

            "You have your firewall open to incoming SSL?"

            Yes - as a response to outgoing SSL. Otherwise browsing would be a bit tricky...

    2. TheVogon

      Hosts files are not generally effective for blocking adverts. The same host often serves more than just adverts...

  2. MajorDoubt

    If you are using chrome, you are already a idiot

    trusting google with anything, doh!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you are using chrome, you are already a idiot

      @MajorDoubt Does that include everything Google make? Chromebooks, Android?

  3. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

    I hate to agree

    Normally I find Andrew's anti-Google scaremongering to be a little OTT, but I have to agree with him this time: having an advertising company promoting an own-brand ad-blocker is fairly ludicrous. It also seems like it will get Google in hot water with regulators, so I have to wonder what they're thinking, and the only thing I can come up with is that they want to impose certain standards of propriety on online advertising by reining in the current excesses of the advertising industry. It makes a lot of sense from a business and technology perspective, but the regulatory issues will be formidable.

    In any case, I believe I will be sticking with Firefox and uBlock Origin.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Firefox, NoScript and uBlock Origin.


      1. TheVogon

        "Firefox, NoScript and uBlock Origin."

        Edge, AdBlock Plus, Ghostery if you want it easy...

        1. stephanh

          @TheVogon, these are not your friends:

          AdBlock Plus - from Eyeo, the guys who run a protection racket on the ad mafia themselves

          Ghostery - Ghostery Inc. sells data to advertisers

          Edge - from Slurp. Needs no further introduction.

          1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

            TheVogon is a well-known Microsoft fanboy, so it's unsurprising that he uses Edge and its limited supply of add-ons.

        2. TheVogon

          "TheVogon, these are not your friends:"

          AdBlock Plus - from Eyeo, the guys who run a protection racket on the ad mafia themselves"

          Good. Glad to see the advertisers getting a kicking. Just tick the extra box to block the "approved" adverts too if you want to bypass that.

          "Ghostery - Ghostery Inc. sells data to advertisers"

          Disable the data sharing feature and they don't get the data. However the data they sell is to help advertisers not target those that block adverts. It's not allowing the to track you.

          "Edge - from Slurp. Needs no further introduction."

          I think you are confused. Chrome is the browser from Slurp...

          However that being said, U-Block Origin is now available on Edge - and seem to replace both of the above...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            ""Edge - from Slurp. Needs no further introduction."

            "I think you are confused. Chrome is the browser from Slurp..."

            Actually both Chrome and Edge are full of slurp. If you want to stay mainstream best to stick with Firefox these days...

      2. Infernoz Bronze badge

        Never use plain Chrome, if you need Chrome get SRWare Iron, get the sanitised German fork of Chrome.

        *block whatever and Ghostery are so dated now.

        uMatrix on most browsers.

        Also NoScript, Self-Destructing Cookies and Smart HTTPS for Firefox.

    2. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Re: I hate to agree

      Oh it's full on crazyland. It's hilarious. Google peered into their crystal ball and have seen their fertile plains reduced to a toxic advertising wasteland. They made some mewling noises to advertisers about please maybe not being such in-your-face cocks or the public might get upset and nuke them all. Yeah, well, nobody listened because the money was talking.

      Google have been here before: Android. Android became synonymous with abandoned hardware dripping with security holes, and the only way Google could escape the poopshower was to actually compete with its own customers in order to exemplar how to Android without being such a dick to the public.

      And so here we are, toxic waste spewing into Google's rivers from neighbouring lands, and time running out. Google are going to war for their own survival - if they don't hunt down the polluters *themselves* before the public nuke the whole site from orbit with adblockers, it's Game Over man.

      And that's not even the funniest part. You're right, the antitrust regulators will jump in and disarm Google for "harming the competition" harming the *whole ecosystem*. But the regulators don't exist in that ecosystem. That bit isn't their problem. The competition will be protected to death.

      It's all going to shit, just like the actual planet, for the same base reasons. We'll all point and laugh from our comment boards as the non-corporate-backed boards start winking out due to nobody paying the bills. In other news Trump will start an online advertising empire. It will be the Best, the Greatest! It will be hosted in Russia "to avoid the evil Google/NSA Establishment spying on you". The public will believe him, because that's what we'd told him to tell us. Adblockers will be unpatriotic, then illegal.

      I need to make more popcorn but crushing the pills is hard work.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Google blocking ads...

    Great... but what about all the tracking that obviously will still be going on ?

    1. fidodogbreath

      Re: Google blocking ads...

      what about all the tracking

      Everything is a data point. By tracking which ads you block, they will be able to serve you more relevant ads...which their "blocker" will no doubt allow to pass through unmolested.

    2. Rattus Rattus

      Re: "but what about all the tracking"

      Privacy Badger?

      1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        Re: "but what about all the tracking"

        Well, yes. And expect all other ad-blockers, privacy protectors and tracking detectors to be banned from the Chrome Store as they "are no longer needed"

  5. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Fox, meet henhouse (yet again)

    If Google does _NOT_ allow white listing, and does _NOT_ attempt to circumvent their own ad blocker with their own sponsors (thus exempting themselves from its effects), then I suppose it would be a good thing.

    I doubt it will happen, though. I remain in 'wait and see' mode before trusting.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fox, meet henhouse (yet again)

      Of course they aren't going to block their own ads! That is obvious, I read the plan was to work with a third party company to have an acceptable ads program to only allow non-intrusive ads.

      Advertisers/websites/ad agencies/ad networks only have themselves to blame.

      The biggest single reason that I use an ad blocker is to stop malware/modal dialog, new tab openers, screen swipers, etc.

      All things that these sections of people could do something about, but they refuse to acknowledge the problem, refuse to stop showing flash/javascript ads. Still allow crappy "you are the millionth visitor" etc ads. It's like fishermen who fish their patch to extinction - they can't stop doing it.

      This has got me used to using a blocker that I struggle to surf without it now.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Fox, meet henhouse (yet again)

        >I read the plan was to work with a third party company to have an acceptable ads program to only allow non-intrusive ads.

        I read it to mean third-parties, not using the Google ad network will be limited to only being permitted to use non-intrusive ads. Also I expect "non-intrusive" in Googles definition will include page placement. So don't expect your non-Google ad to be positioned anywhere near the top of the page.

        [Aside: See the court case between Google and StreetMap over positioning of map results on search pages for further information on how Google's "acceptable ad's" policy might turn out.]

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Google's idea of freedom: "No one gets to have ads but us".

    Yes, the title is a bit of a troll but think about it.

  7. JimmyPage Silver badge

    I suspect *anything* will be futile.

    "Big data" is about comparing datasets ... and I *specifically* use the noun "sets" in that statement.

    As long as there is a universal set - or one can be assembled - then ANYONE is visible by simple set operations.

    So ad-block away. You can be pinpointed by removing the set of people who were served ads, from the universal set. (Yes that's a simplistic description, but it's possible).

    I suspect the ad-slingers are rather late to this party. Certainly in the UK, political analysts have been aware of it for 30 years. If you really dig into the stats, June 8th outcome will be decided by a few thousand people.

    1. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Re: I suspect *anything* will be futile.

      Speaking as a data puddler, you aren't unarmed here. If someone simply believes the holy data, they are the puppet of the person who fed them that data. Ultimately, that's actually you. I don't believe there are any laws (yet) that say you can't mislead people spying on you.

      The key will be control of your own information surface. And that will mean doing homework. Sorry. You won't get it if you don't work for it. I've got *lots* of homework to do myself about getting my Android to lie to people I don't trust, and prevent applications colluding to form a perimeter, all without them knowing.

      And you can't really zoom into Big Data and spot individuals as reliably as you think. That same magnification process also magnifies the unavoidable noise you get in such data. You may find your terrorist, but you'll have a dozen false positives too (or just whoever the terrorist wanted you to righteously destroy the life of).

  8. tfewster

    Will Google be taking responsibility for ensuring any ads it lets through don't contain malware?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Google blocking ads, funniest this I've heard this year.

  10. Oengus

    When is an ad-blocker not an ad-blocker

    As soon as an ad-blocker adds a whitelist and allows ads through it isn't a an ad-blocker anymore. It becomes an ad-censor (or extortionist - pay us or we will remove you from our acceptable ads list).

  11. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The surprise here is that Google is doing this through their browser rather than through their network. And, of course, they should have done it sooner. It's the intrusive crap and particularly the malware that's brought about the rise of the ad-blocker. This is a rear-guard action to try to protect their business.

    1. Daggerchild Silver badge

      I suspect very little of it is actually coming from Google themselves, so the browser is the only way to stop it that Google control.

      If the fullscreen face-smasher interstitial ads, or the fullscreen video background ads, or the "Google is tracking you! Click here to stop them!" are actually Google I am happy to be corrected. Same with the evil video/audio webgl hardware profiling stuff I found tracking me through incognito mode. There's nasty people out there, no Google required.

  12. Captain DaFt

    Sorry Google

    I want nothing, zip, zero, nada, bupkiss, from you.

    You long ago poisoned your own well to toxic waste with corporate greed.

  13. Pat 11


    I guess people who care will just stop using Chrome, but it might also increase the "load random urls in the background" noise generating technique.

    Also, for Android, Adguard is great and can block https and app ads as well. And pi-hole for the LAN of course

  14. John Lilburne

    Take whatever whitelist Google provides and add it to the backlist. You won't be disappointed.

  15. teledon1

    Invisible Ad-Blocker

    Why not just make the ad blocker's work invisible to the advertisers? Block ads in such a way that the advertiser thinks that the ad was displayed, but the user never sees the ad.

  16. Roland6 Silver badge

    Ineffective Regulation...

    The report has already drawn the attention of the EU's Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager. "We will follow this new feature and it's effects closely," she tweeted at journalists today.

    Given the speed of development and the sheer absence of speed we've witnessed from the Regulators, perhaps what is needed is something akin to (my limited understanding) the Russian system. Here, the regulator merely needs to declare company(s) to be dominate players (along with their rationale) and thus require them to report on what they are doing to protect competition and to get regulatory approval before large scale deployment.

    Thus whilst Eyeo may be the dominate player in the current adblocking market, it is clear that Google's market position and access would enable it to disrupt the adblock market, the question is whether Google's intervention is in the interests of competition and also in the interests of consumers.

  17. IGnatius T Foobar

    Ad blockers? More == better.

    Google is welcome to create an ad blocker, and I will be happy to use it. I will also keep AdBlock Plus, plus several more extensions that I have installed to specifically block the most intrusive sites: Taboola, ZergNet, and Facebook.

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