back to article Brave takes brave stand against Google's plan to turn websites into ad-blocker-thwarting Web Bundles

A proposed Google web specification threatens to turn websites into inscrutable digital blobs that resist content blocking and code scrutiny, according to Peter Snyder, senior privacy researcher at Brave Software. On Tuesday, Snyder published a memo warning that Web Bundles threaten user agency and web code observability. He …

  1. Lorribot Bronze badge

    Google is the largest beneficiary of advertising spend in the world

    Google has the largest install base of Operating system in the world that limits all user to its choosen rendering engine so controls what they see

    Google has the large browser market share which is betwenn 80 and 100% on nearly all platforms

    Am I the only one that sees the conflict of interest here?

    A few years ago another company was in the same situation with out the advertising and no way to really make money from their position like Google do and yet they were hammered every year with government inquiries and monoplistic litigation and yet Google just gets away with it year in year out with endless protectionist US governments that have no desire to do anything and a EU that so busy destroying itself that its doest care about its citizens any more.

    1. AdamWill

      no, you never are

      hot tip: if your comment contains the line "am I the only one who (yaddayadda)"

      1. the answer is no

      2. you should probably go do something else for 15 minutes and re-consider posting it

      1. tcmonkey

        Re: no, you never are

        It’s a valid question when world + dog appears to be more than happy to kiss Google’s arse like they’re dying of thirst and it’s the only water on the planet.

        It’s especially disheartening to see people who really ought to know better drinking the koolaid too.

        1. Mike 137 Silver badge

          It isn't just Gooooooogle

          Quite part from facilitating snooping, the original requirement for "client agnosticism" has long been abandoned as proprietary web technologies have repeatedly been snuck into what was supposedly a non-proprietary open standard and it seems that the "way forward" on the web is obfuscation and bloat. Google is not alone.

          EXAMPLES

          The collaboration portal of an international standards body now downloads 8MB of obfuscated javascript to the browsing host just to allow clicking on a link to download of typically quite small PDF documents. What else all that code is doing is impossible for most of us to establish. What's more is that it only seems to execute reliably on IE.

          The Register main pages load around 1100 lines of CSS that includes positioning to 0.1 M (less than a pixel on most desktop monitors). Only the Maker knows what all this is actually doing, and maybe She can't even work it out.

          The Viking office supplies web site product pages are around 330kB of HTML/js, but only contain typically 25kB of readable content - a Shannon efficiency of about 7.5%.

          The source of very few web sites is now human readable, so all sorts of both dirty tricks and sheer incompetence can pass under the radar. Just this morning I found a massive obfuscated js driven web site containing two nested <head> tags. Such bloopers only get by because the browser is being made ever more accommodating of error.

          1. Rich 2 Silver badge

            Re: It isn't just Gooooooogle

            I can think of a much more impressive example than Viking - try dictionary.com or thesaurus.com. Example: stick “rubbish” into the latter and the generated page is about 177k long. Of that, the useful bit (the list of synonyms and antonyms) adds up to 80 + 28 characters - that’s 0.06% of the total. It’s not even because there’s a lot of other stuff on the page - it’s mostly blank.

            Oh, and it hooks into google, doubleshit, and goodness knows what else.

            1. Draco
              Windows

              Re: It isn't just Gooooooogle

              When I dare to have a peek at a website's code and structure, it, often, leaves me with the impression that site was never designed for human consumption, but, rather, for other machines.

              1. holmegm Bronze badge

                Re: It isn't just Gooooooogle

                "When I dare to have a peek at a website's code and structure, it, often, leaves me with the impression that site was never designed for human consumption, but, rather, for other machines."

                Well, to be fair - the source *was* designed for other machines.

          2. skeptical i
            Thumb Down

            Re: It isn't just Gooooooogle

            [grumpy old man] Back when I was a boy, we had to weigh our webpages and images before posting 'em, and anything that took too long to download had to be trimmed.[/grumpy old man] Then the world got fatter intertubes and bigger storage and faster processors and the bloatmonster rampaged o'er the web. I was assured that with the rise of mobile devices and finite battery life, web developers would return to the lean-and-mean standard of yore (you don't want to be the website the drains batteries, do you?) but I honestly haven't seen it. I've seen dead simple HTML pages require a handful of javascripts (why?), pages that, as pointed out above, have a vanishingly small percentage of "real" content amidst a sea of javascript, css, and other useless cruft. No, I'm not pointing out anything new here, just venting. *sigh*

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: no, you never are

        "hot tip"

        Is that a newer, wankier version of "pro tip" ?

        1. Eric.R.

          Re: no, you never are

          wankable. pro tips should be avoided.

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      To Sum up...

      Google is the devil in modern clothing.

      Avoid if at all possible.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: To Sum up...

        I think Facebook is a lot worse.

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: To Sum up...

          Perhaps, but Facebook is eminently avoidable: on the Internet, Google is not.

          1. Imhotep Silver badge

            Re: To Sum up...

            And that is the key difference to me also.

    3. matjaggard

      Google doesn't own an operating system that limits your choice of rendering engine. Firefox works very successfully with its own rendering engine on Android and Chrome OS. Apple do limit the rendering engine but not Google.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Yes, the first thing 99% of people do with a new Android phone or tablet is install an alternative browser which doesn't use Blink or WebView... in an alternate reality.

        If you want out of Google's attempt at closing the open web, your only choice is Firefox because all other browsers use Google rendering engines following Google's specs, however after years of not taking the best decisions Firefox's usage on both desktop and mobile is looking decidedly shaky and so is Mozilla's future.

        1. Michael Habel Silver badge

          If Firebadger really is our only hope.... Then Zarquan help us!

          If Mozilla want to be rlevent again. the cut, the crap that killed it, coof Aurora coof, and give us an updated for the post coof Firebadger v3. (Which was, and still continues to be the best Browser ever made.)

        2. Eric.R.

          Mozilla will probably implement this in firefox too after voting it through standards. They killed their own addon system and use chromes now, copied google on link tracking, worked on webrtc together - which i might add still isnt behind a user prompt for over a decade.

    4. Michael Habel Silver badge

      I'm pretty sure that once upon a time pre Firefox v4, let alone pre Aurora where, Firebadger also had a fairly decently sized chunk of the market too... How would you like to bet that if they ever decided in a monent of unreasonable sanity, to bring Firefox v3 back. But with all the current year +5 security updates along with it. People would switch back over to it in a shot.

      I know I probably would.

    5. vtcodger Silver badge

      I think perhaps I'd like to get off this bus.

      OK, so the internet/world wide web is probably doomed to flounder in a sea of greed driven bad ideas. (... and we're all gonna die). What's the alternative?

      I just checked. Yep usenet is still out there. Sort of. e.g. http://news.aioe.org/ But frankly, even though it shows no sign of googleitis or ADS (Advolken Dementia Syndrome), it doesn't look all that healthy. Any other thoughts?

    6. oiseau Silver badge
      WTF?

      "Perhaps Google's motives are pure and it only wants what's best for the web."

      The extent of naiveté enclosed in this phrase is simply astounding.

      Lest it be part of an elaborate joke ...

      But no, the article is dated Thursday not Friday.

      O.

  2. streaky

    Solutions...

    .. for problems nobody has.

    Not sure why people are worried, nobody is going to use this tech.

    1. tcmonkey

      Re: Solutions...

      They said that about AMP v1 too, and now it’s bloody everywhere.

      1. streaky

        Re: Solutions...

        Sure, except for the part where it isn't.

        1. overunder Silver badge

          Re: Solutions...

          Every page fighting against AMP is probably not using AMP, so it's at least 10 pages deep in Google search.

          Even if you _ARE_NOT_ using a site's AMP page, that page will still have better SEO with Google search as long as an AMP page exists.

          Don't just stare back, fight the snake... DuckDuckGo : https://duckduckgo.com

      2. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Solutions...

        They said that about AMP v1 too, and now it’s bloody everywhere.

        The first time I saw an AMP page on my mobile (via Firefox) I looked for an addon to make sure I didn't have to see another one. The Redirect AMP to HTML one from memory works (at least on my phone) by breaking the AMP page. It throws up an error message and I can then adjust the URL to point to the non AMP version.

    2. DS999
      Facepalm

      Re: Solutions...

      Sure, nobody will use it.

      Except that the most dominant browser by far will support it, and Google will silently push sites that use it up in search results so the word will get out that you better use it or be relegated to the 50th page of search results where bankruptcy awaits.

      1. streaky

        Re: Solutions...

        I'd pay to see google try that. It's already looking like they're going to be broken up, that will be the final nail in the coffin.

        1. Pascal

          Re: Solutions...

          Pay up then. They've been doing it from the start with AMP.

  3. YetAnotherJoeBlow Bronze badge

    Google is just like a bad dream...

    Just like I never see AMP pages, I will never see Google Blobs - even if that means not seeing that content at all.

  4. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Big Brother

    "Perhaps Google's motives are pure and it only wants what's best for the web."

    And perhaps monkeys may fly out of my butt.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Beware, the latter is far more likely than the former...

    2. riffrafff

      LOL. Came here to say EXACTLY THAT.

  5. Forget It
    Alert

    the circle completes

    Don't be evil

    to

    Do be evil.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: the circle completes

      I think it was "Don't be caught being evil."

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: the circle completes

        Don't hide being evil, just gaslight afterwards.

    2. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: the circle completes

      “ the circle completes

      Don't be evil

      to

      Do be evil.”

      They’ve just compressed the letters used to ensure steady delivery of their message. Reads a little different but retains their current ambition.

    3. Michael Habel Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: the circle completes

      Its BE EVIL

      There is never a good time for bad gramar.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. RPF

        Re: the circle completes

        "Gramar".......perfect.

        1. DJV Silver badge

          Re: the circle completes

          Don't forget the use of "its" instead of "it's".

    4. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: the circle completes

      Perhaps only a slight shuffling of the order: Be Don't Evil.

      And English is my primary language? OK, try putting a comma after the 2nd word...that may help -- although it's very Yoda.

    5. trindflo
      Devil

      Re: the circle completes

      Don't be evil...until you metastasize.

  6. bpfh Silver badge
    WTF?

    Prior art?

    Has Google just gone and invented the Microsoft HTML Archive .hta file ?

    I’d love to see how big that file is when loaded from say the daily mail, with its 70 odd stored tracers.... and some of the cross site scripting and cookie domain limitations would need some fun workarounds...

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Prior art?

      Don't worry, they've got it all figured out, even if the Daily Mail might have to switch over completely to Google's tracking.

    2. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Prior art?

      It's going to be a bit like a JEE deployment too

    3. noboard

      Re: Prior art?

      Hmmm will that be an effective blocking mechanism? If the filesize is > than 500k, display a message saying "This site is nothing but adds, do you want to continue?"

    4. Eric.R.

      Re: Prior art?

      I thought http2 could this sort of thing too, push resources etc.

  7. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Desperate

    The problem with advertising as a revenue stream is that you are relying on, for your income, something that is intrusive and often irritates your customers. I often mute the TV these days when irritating adverts come on because more and more of the advertisers are not getting the returns from their adverts that they want so the are making their ads more intrusive (off-key singing, jangly music, irritating voices), and that is because we end users are becoming immune to the very techniques that they are using to convince us that their product is a "must have" and we are becoming immune to it BECAUSE of their over-use of these techniques. So called Targeted Advertising should have reduced the irritation as it supposedly advertises what you are already interested in, but in my experience it advertises what I have ALREADY BOUGHT and am no longer interested in, so more irritation there.

    I don't use ad-blockers as, unlike the worlds freeloaders, I understand that if I want something then I can either pay for it, or else view some adverts and the advertisers will pay for it. However, if a site uses irritating in-your-face techniques, that site gets visited less and less often until they lose me as a customer.

    This move by Google is just another step in the "war" and will undoubtedly be countered by those who don't want to see the drivel foisted on us by the ad makers and their chosen deliverers of drivel.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Desperate

      In the early days I never used ad blockers because I realized that web sites needed some money to stay alive, But then advertising overwhelmed the site design and virtually replaced the content in many cases with the additional risk that an "advert" could infect my computer ... ad blockers have become a security requirement as well as a mental health requirement since Google took over the Internet.

    2. sabroni Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: unlike the worlds freeloaders

      I'm not letting insecure ad networks run JS on my browser. The Ad networks, the malware they fling and the privacies they violate are the reason I block ads.

      Freeloading or basic self defence?

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: unlike the worlds freeloaders

        > insecure ad networks run JS on my browser

        This. I didn't mind the inert "banners" of bygone days, even the animated ones, even when they started to get annoyingly large, but the day they started to have code tied to them was also the last time I saw an ad online. And unfortunately it's not just paranoia on my side.

        Greed knows no limits. They all want your money, and they will stop at nothing to get it, short of breaking the law too obviously (Breaking the law discreetly is okay).

        As for the ad-supported websites, don't they see they are happily roasting the goose that used to lay the golden eggs? As I said, I don't mind ads per se, once or twice in my life I have even seen ads which did interest me (apparently it can happen!); But there is a limit to what I'm willing to go through to be swamped by things I 99.9% of the time am not interested in.

        The ad industry needs to realize they are increasingly in an open war with (part of) their public, which is detrimental to their business: They need to be wooing the public, not annoying them to the point they make an effort (even buy devices) to filter ads out.

        Unfortunately the solution they will obviously choose is not to stop being annoying, it's to try to break the resistance, one way or another. Why go through the hassle to seduce when you can legally rape.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: unlike the worlds freeloaders

          Wll, an anti rape device (a Raspberry Pi with Pi-Hole) is quite cheap.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge
            Unhappy

            Re: unlike the worlds freeloaders

            > anti rape device [...] is quite cheap

            Still, cheap or expensive, my point is you shouldn't have to use one.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: unlike the worlds freeloaders

              Shouldn't have to use a deal bolt, either, but c'est la vie. Pretty soon, I expect there to be a "Stop the Internet! I wanna get off!" campaign when government websites (as in the ONLY way to access things like benefits and so on) become Googleborgs...

    3. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Desperate

      ads more intrusive (off-key singing, jangly music, irritating voices)

      Yes, and the use of the "Waif-o-Matic" on classic songs that are not improved by this treatment. In the UK, even "Born to be Wild" has received the waify female vocal treatment for (I think) Volvo.

      I doubt it can be licensing issues since they wouldn't be able to use the song at all, so I figure that the only reason must be to make you interact with the ad - albeit negatively....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Desperate... for a Volvo

        Pretty sure you're right, it's Volvo - although my brain figuratively shuts down my ears when the ad starts (in the interests of self preservation, and not throwing something large and heavy at the TV).

        And if that awful mess they make of the song isn't enough for whichever Ad agency is behind it to be condemned to the darkest pits of hell, trying to associate Volvo with being 'wild' surely is!

        "Truth in advertising" - NOT!

      2. Long John Silver
        Pirate

        Re: Desperate

        That's an eye opener. I was under the impression of off-key singing, jangling, and voices with irritating intonation, being necessary features of successful popular music these days. It's surprising to read about these attributes being accentuated to the point where they grab attention through annoyance. I believed people choosing to expose themselves to advertising enjoyed singing along with jingles and songs.

      3. skeptical i
        Meh

        Re: Desperate

        The _Prairie Home Companion_ radio show (or its successor) had an ongoing skit about "breathy acoustic covers" a couple of years ago. Which should have been A Clue that this style has jumped the shark, but no.

    4. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Desperate

      I was FORCED to use adblockers by the advertisers. (pop up, animated etc)

      I do allow site specific adverts on certain sites. (Hobbies with ads from known suppliers)

      Most though blocked to oblivion.

      This google blob method, great for virus transmission.

      As to all the ITVs out there, PVR FTW.

      Oh I prefer to fast forwards than skip to catch the entertaining adverts, there are some better than the programmes.

      1. Long John Silver
        Pirate

        Re:Re: Desperate

        As do you, I pro-actively seek information about products I have current interest in. That entails use of search engines (preferably not Google's sponsored listings), and visits to sites I already trust. Other than that I regard advertisements thrust unbidden before me as offensive intrusions and use available means to block them.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blocking Ads

    But ad companies have demonstrated that they're not thrilled with people being able to block their ads.

    Blocking the Ads actually improves the performance of the web sites.

    The Ad companies need to learn how to create adverts that doesn't bring down the performance of a web site and crank up CPU usage or be so intrusive.

    And the site owner need to learn to stop plastering ad placeholders all over the damn place making their actual content unreadable and having a million tracking scripts running.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Blocking Ads

      But we used to have this then they started to make us block them.

  9. Michael Habel Silver badge
    Big Brother

    As Greta would say...

    Finger waging in the air al-la Lord Kitchener...

    HOW DARE YOU!!!

    How dare you try to steal the Advertising revenue from hard working Googlers' Don't ch'ya know that Advertisments are good for you?

  10. doctordave77

    Opportunities Galore For Competing Browsers

    Assuming that Google is stupid enough to attempt to enforce this new standard, they'll probably be killing Chrome as a browser. For instance, let's look at Microsoft Edge, probably a perfectly acceptable replacement for Chrome. Nobody uses it because we're all hesitant to change, especially in our most used program; our browser. All it would take for Microsoft (or any other non-Chrome based browser) to win a significant place back at the browser table would be for them to ignore the Google standard, staying with non-bundled websites. AdBlock would still work with Edge, and Chrome's share of the market would rapidly slide.

    Go ahead, Google - make our day!

    1. John70

      Re: Opportunities Galore For Competing Browsers

      Unfortunately the latest version of Edge is using Chromium.

      1. trindflo

        Re: Opportunities Galore For Competing Browsers

        Fork 'em

    2. KBeee Bronze badge

      Re: Opportunities Galore For Competing Browsers

      I suppose some of the people that chose to use Chrome may migrate to another browser, but that leaves about 98% of Chrome users totally indifferent and disinterested in changing. They'll carry on using whatever was installed by default on their phones/devices. Personal data raping, ad slinging and privacy seems to be of no concern to most of the general public, so long as they can view "Influencers", share pictures of the meal they are eating, and chat to like-minded sociopaths in their solipsistic world.

    3. Long John Silver
      Pirate

      Re: Opportunities Galore For Competing Browsers

      I suggest Internet users are naturally differentiating into distinct categories with clear cut requirements and fancies. The overwhelming majority seem happy to immerse themselves in experience offered by Microsoft Windows and Apple OS on large devices, and default Android or Apple options on mobile phones. They regard their devices as portals to social interaction and instant news, the latter including trends in 'fashion' and the latest 'consumer' products. Advertisements, product placement, 'celebrity' endorsed goods and services, and purchasing decisions by their peers, are key components of their, to them would-be glamorous, lifestyle. What they say on social media and what they own or covet defines them. Perhaps many regarded targeted advertising as 'exclusive' and mark of belonging to a privileged group.

      The other faction draws upon people with pre-Internet experience and on self-directed (rather than peer directed) younger people. They might regard 'devices' to be tools, often essential, rather than offering communal extension of their personality. Members of this group will use the Internet rather than being manipulated by it; they will deploy available technologies to ward off intrusions into privacy and the constant background noise of attempts to gain their attention.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @doctordave77 - Re: Opportunities Galore For Competing Browsers

      Combine this with DRM and you will see it's game over. If those blobs will be encrypted and protected no browser will be able to interfere. Nice move from Google here.

  11. RPF

    Well done Brave.

  12. a pressbutton
    Black Helicopters

    How much data is accessible from one of these unrestricted blobs

    I run AdBlock / Ghostery / Scriptsafe / Disconnect

    My web experience is v. different to my oh who uses none of these things.

    If I switched all that off - or used one of those pages - could someone work out who I am?

    1. Inkey
      Big Brother

      Re: How much data is accessible from one of these unrestricted blobs

      Depends on who you mean by They

      Yes all your browser addons and plugins will stop your machine being used by the lower level marketeers... and also most of the bloat.. ie cross site scripting, j tags and what not, the caveat being that it may downgrade the experiance(think 3d scripts yummy eye canydy web pages etc).. beacause it's deemed sensable to use a CDN closer to you.. mmv

      But once you start getting higher up the corpperate inteligence ladder nah!………

      And futher up the plain old inteligence ladder forget it ... It's no strech to profile you by proxy from your oh... For example if two phones come togerther and they both turn off for a while and then turn back on and leave... they get flaged and become "of intersest"

      Christ i hope you wern't being sarcastic and i just typed this all out for fekkall

      The take away is these blobs will not only bloat out exponentialy but if you Attempt to stop things like js and cross site linking you dont get zip...

      Sent from my Brave Browser ... i use ff as well

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How much data is accessible from one of these unrestricted blobs

      Disconnect's CTO is ex-nsa, their whitelist incorporated into firefox is locked down and whitelists a ton of stuff, Ghostery - also adopted by firefox had a bad reputation before they bought it. AdBlock (i forget which one) was doing the acceptable ads malarky.

      Ublock Origin is the way to go, with Decentraleyes or LocalCDN.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: How much data is accessible from one of these unrestricted blobs

        Ublock Origin is the way to go,

        Together with Pi-Hole (and Unbound).

    3. a pressbutton

      Re: How much data is accessible from one of these unrestricted blobs

      I say this because at the moment, if I run those privacy tools, the process of uniquely identifying me becomes v.v.v. hard

      _IANAL_

      If I am presented with this 'thing' in return for which I am effectively giving away personal information that does uniquely identify me and

      a) I have not opted in on a per person accessing that data basis

      b) I have been offered no choice

      How does this fit in with privacy legislation?

  13. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    But as far as the claim here goes:

    "Bundles allow folks who opt into bundles to have others serve their content...again...on an opt-in basis. "

    All so clever to say, but fails once sites decide you can ONLY access their sites through bundles. Sure you'll have an option, the option to accept the bundle, or not get access to the site at all (although the second option would probably be the wisest anyway).

    And besides, if a particular page is bundled, then going to another page on the same site means you'd be re-downloading ALL the images and style-sheets all over again. So you're wasting a LOT more bandwidth, even if you ignore the malevolent nature of the spec.

    1. tekHedd

      "Opt In" LOLOLOLObleah...

      I pretty much had to stop reading at "opt in" because I couldn't stop laughing bitterly while fighting back nausea. Glad it's friday because I *really* need a beer now.

      We can "opt in" to this the same way we "opt in" to Microsoft's document formats, Apples end-user agreements, and Google's location tracking.

  14. StrangerHereMyself

    I'm not worried

    I believe that no matter what Google tries, the open web will always triumph since there are millions of developers who refuse to touch AMP or be pulled off JavaScript and HTML / CSS.

    How many AMP sites are there currently? I suspect they're an infinitesimal small percentage of the total.

    In all the years that AMP has existed it hasn't gained any real traction outside of Google, even though Big G is using positive discrimination to spur adoption.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: I'm not worried

      So how many sites use Google ads or analytics? Google has managed to get lots of stuff into theoretically open web standards. DRM tech they control. Google Maps as a W3C standard. They've done similarly with JavaScript APIs, and they have a near monopoly on browser extension APIs since Mozilla has adopted most of theirs. These things are all "open" in the sense that we don't have to pay Google for it to use them on our websites, but they give Google extra power over the web and web developers haven't been shy about using them. Why do you expect that this one will be so different, and even if you're right, what happens when they come back with a different "open standard" in a few months?

      1. StrangerHereMyself

        Re: I'm not worried

        There's no doubt that Google has a big impact on the web simply because they have a large purse and developing these technologies costs a lot of money.

        But that's not the point here. Can Google subvert web technologies by tweaking their browser to suit their agenda? Only up to a point, is my take on that.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: I'm not worried

          And you are entirely correct. The only minor problem is that "to a point" means "pretty much all the way". They have bent the W3C to their will. They have bent other standards bodies to their will. They have bent enough web devs to their will that there are sites that say they'll only work in Chrome. This is a lot of power, with proven efficacy. It's always possible that they hit a wall sometime, but they've already gotten farther than I'd like them and I see no reason they're going to stop any time soon.

  15. xyz

    Err...

    If they take my web pages and start farting around with them and sticking them on their own servers and pretending it's still my stuff isn't that called theft or fraud or something?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Err...

      Why yes, it is. Now all you have to do is press charges. You have two options:

      Option 1: Go to your local law enforcement and inform them that a crime has taken place. They will immediately investigate and charge Google in local court. You will get paid at the end of the case. [muted tones Case will not end in your lifetime and might not even start because everyone uses Google tech police know who they can charge and who they can't and will laugh uproariously once you leave actual chance of getting recompense one in 18.39 million actual chance of change 0.]

      Option 2: Sue Google yourself. You can attempt to pursue them under various laws depending on your nation of origin. You will have to bear more costs, but you'll likely get a bigger payout and Google will have to reimburse your legal expenses. [muted tones Case will not end in your lifetime but we'd expect your lifetime to be rather shortened lawyers will work you over with unending questions and contracts until your bank account is empty you'll probably also be the target of a discrediting campaign aimed at getting you fired and making your lawyers drop you as a client not recommended for anyone with a history of depression or for those who want to avoid a future of depression]

      In this case, however, Google is making available tech that is voluntarily adopted by those who create content. Well, that's not exactly true. It's tech to be voluntarily adopted by content creators after their advertisers require it of them and volunteer the use of their own CDNs and extra tracking scripts. For this specific case, the viewers of the content are the only ones who will be able to complain about the involuntary restriction on their web usage. Said complaints will be filed in a big recycled paper bin.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Err...

        What about Small Claims Courts, which don't need lawyers or juries?

  16. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Run away train

    Google is one step ahead of the rulz and regs, and spends a nice coin in DC to make sure they stay there. Heads of BigTech being called in front of congress? What a dog and pony show! A politician asking technical questions? Will they understand the answer? Will they know the truth even if it is told?

    Are the American founding fathers spinning in their graves, or enjoying the view?

    Now where is that middle finger icon?

  17. JulieM Silver badge

    Time for governments to act

    I think we are now at the point where the only thing that can make a difference is state-level action. Some country with a Minister for Information Technology who actually knows their stuff needs to pass a law requiring all Internet-delivered content to be cleanly separable into editorial and advertising, such that users have the opportunity to block 100% of advertisements without prejudice to the integrity of the information they are seeking.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Time for governments to act

      > pass a law requiring all Internet-delivered content to be cleanly separable into editorial and advertising

      Sorry to be pessimistic, but it's way more likely they'll pass a law preventing ad blocking. After all it's Google/Facebook who pays their election and gives them cushy retirement jobs afterwards. How many millions have you donated?...

      The only thing that prevents this is that senior politicians are utterly clueless and don't even understand what we're talking about: They have an assistant to do their internetting.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anything is possible if you try hard enough or spend enough money !!!

    "Consider how Facebook, which proudly touts its commitment to open source software, routinely obfuscates the structure of its webpage code to prevent content blockers from working."

    I just filter out *any URL* that contains 'facebook' or 'fbcdn' and it blocks the 'content' perfectly !!! :)

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Anything is possible if you try hard enough or spend enough money !!!

      Can't. Too many times it results in blocking the ACTUAL content, too. More and more often you run into blankouts that wipe the page on detecting an ad blocker or (more frequently) pages that won't show a thing until the ad shows. If I start seeing this on government websites or some other place that can't legally have an alternative, that'll probably be the time to cry out, "Stop the Internet! I wanna get off!"

  19. Dinsdale247

    Lousy memory

    My God, have we already forgotten about HTTP2? It's almost like Google/Microsoft/Facebook didn't buy off the W3C to support the google SPDY binary web page format that intrinsically linked ads to content.

    For the record: Google totally bought off the W3C and forced their SPDY standard onto everyone in an attempt to force an all-or-nothing binary content package on users.

  20. martynhare

    Isn’t this all as simple as cosmetically filtering elements like before? The Content Blocking API used by Safari for instance can be fed per-tag rather than per-file blocks. I add block rules to do this all the time to get rid of things like toolbars and login buttons on sites like YouTube and anime streaming sites. Besides, standards like these can’t be properly applied to dynamic content anyway, so the original pages have to stick around, which means one can simply use the original URL which still has to be there.

    ...and if the World Wide Web does get death by a thousand cuts as a result, then hurrah! We need a greater diversity of protocols for our applications and maybe, just maybe, gopher sites will make a comeback.

  21. Tromos

    Advertising companies not thrilled with people being able to block their ads

    This is identical to criminals being less than thrilled by padlocks and burglar alarms.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Advertising companies not thrilled with people being able to block their ads

      > criminals being less than thrilled by padlocks and burglar alarms

      With the difference that criminals don't have the same lobbying power. With enough lobbying power your personal problem, whatever it is, easily becomes a Just Cause in the supreme interest of the nation...

  22. JaySeb
    Black Helicopters

    We fought Flash for years...

    Google Web Bundles... They and many others have fought for years to destroy Adobe Flash. And now what do they do? Go ahead and recreate the whole thing again...

  23. JulieM Silver badge

    Not obvious

    What is there to prevent someone from downloading the bundle and extracting the files, wanted and other; but then not running any of the scripts or displaying any of the images?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not obvious

      They'll probably all be encrypted, requiring a quick download of a session key (from an ad firm) to unlock.

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