In the most recent product presentation, Apple claims Safari is the world’s fastest browser. Maybe yes, maybe not so much, but Safari is popular among Apple’s customers. Even more popular than Safari is Google’s Chrome.
Quick. What’s the most talked about browser innovation of the past couple of years? Is it page rendering speed? Nope. Is it security? Uh uh. Is it extensions and add on functionality? You’re getting warmer. The biggest changes to hit the browser in the 21st century are ad blockers. Guess who wants to join the ad blocker craze?
In Wolf’s Clothing
No company has done more to reshape how the world wide web functions than Google, and nowhere else is that pervasive tracking accomplished than in Google’s own Chrome browser– the world’s most popular, most used, most sinister, and possibly most hated.
Google spreads its satanic tentacles all over the web with advertising and trackers that cull private information from users to form a profile that can be sold to advertisers (Google’s true customers are advertisers; you’re merely a user, so you’re part of the product). Google thinks browser users are revolting. And now they’re revolting against Google, against Chrome, and against websites in general by installing ad blockers to keep advertisers and trackers away from websites we watch.
How does Google fight back? If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
That’s right, Google plans to put ad-blocking in Chrome for Mac, Windows, and smartphones. Wait. What? That doesn’t sound right, does it? After all, Google gets tens of billions in advertising revenue from browsers, so why install an ad blocker in the world’s most used web browser?
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em just might work.
Word on the streets says a future version of Google’s popular Chrome browser will have a default ad blocker that makes for a better user experience by blocking ads that Google thinks may provide a bad experience for users.
In other words, Google will block ads that don’t come from Google. Google’s own ads, of course, will be the ones you get the privilege of viewing. Web browser users don’t like pop up ads, auto-playing video ads, prestitial ads, and anything that could be deemed annoying before viewing. Many websites are overrun with advertisements, and ostensibly, Google’s Chrome ad blocker would limit the number of ads displayed on a webpage.
Who benefits from a Google ad blocker? Google. Oh, you might, too, but that’s secondary to Google’s requirement to prevent users from installing ad blockers. It goes something like this: “Hey, we already have an ad blocker; no need to install another one.” Except that Chrome’s ad blocker won’t block Google’s own ads.
Chrome is used on more PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets on planet earth than all other browsers combined, so any attempt by Google to block or filter advertising will have an impact. Chrome users may like it, of course, because it speeds up the browsing experience and uses less bandwidth. Publishers won’t like it unless Chrome allows their ads to be displayed.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em
That’s Google’s approach to the ad blocker phenomenon. Here at Mac360 we stopped using advertising trackers almost two years ago (see No Trackers and Ghostery). We have a few ads on each page, but all are aimed at Apple customers, and none of them track you while you visit Mac360. That means our pages load faster, fit on any device from desktop browser to smartphone, and give you more of what you came to view. Articles. We don’t even have a tracking cookie.
Maybe Google’s Chrome ad blocker filtering system is all the company can do to prevent users from blocking advertisements. But the trend has teeth and both Google and advertisers have damaged themselves by an over aggressive use of ads and trackers, and now they’re reaping what they have sown.