If you’ve spent any time on the Web recently, you’ve probably encountered a range of different abusive practices by advertisers – ranging from ads masquerading as error messages to ads with fake close boxes that simply activate new ads once they are clicked. With that in mind, Google is looking to clamp down even harder on these deceptive advertising practices with the release of Chrome 71 in December. Google claims that the latest version of its popular Web browser will help to eliminate “misleading” and “abusive” ads, thereby making the Web a safer and more enjoyable place for everyone.
Earlier, Google had already made other changes to Chrome designed to make the browser run more smoothly for Internet users. For example, Chrome now limits the ability of video to auto-play as soon as you visit a website. And Chrome also features a much stronger popup-blocker, as well as reduced ability for websites to auto-redirect you to other websites.
While any efforts by Google to make Chrome more user-friendly need to be applauded, some Internet critics are concerned that Google might be exercising too much power over the future direction of the Internet. Chrome, for example, is the No. 1 browser for both mobile and desktop, so any changes made by Chrome are going to reverberate throughout the tech industry.
Keep in mind – while Google is a tech company, it is also an advertising company – thus, it is not just influencing how browsers should work, but also what ads should look like on the Internet. To borrow an analogy from the world of television, it would be much the same as if one of the world’s top TV manufacturers (e.g. LG, Samsung) started to weigh in on what types of ads should be shown on TV. That might strike some people as overreaching just a little too far.
So how is that overreaching behavior any different from Google banning certain types of ads on the Internet, and in fact, forcing website operators to become fully compliant with the latest version of Chrome? Website operators risk having all ads suppressed on their website if they are found to be “abusive.” Google is now threatening to “blacklist” certain sites and advertisers, and to completely de-monetize abusive websites by stripping them of the ability to display any ads at all (not just the ones deemed to be “abusive”). Sites that are not in compliance typically have 30 days to fix abusive ads, or face the consequences.
The good news is that Google Chrome users can actually override any Google ad blocking. While it’s hard to imagine why any Internet user would want to be subject to pop-up ads, videos that auto-play in the background without their permission, or blatant attempts to steal your identity, it needs to be realized that Google is at least providing options to users and giving website operators the chance to avoid the dreaded blacklist.
From Google’s perspective, the new Chrome 71 is just trying to create a fair and level playing field for advertisers, and to make sure that Chrome users are not unfairly abused by unscrupulous and “user-hostile” advertisers. Once the latest version of Chrome debuts in December, we’ll have a much better idea of how Google views the future of the Web browsing experience.
If you’ve spent any time on the Web recently, you’ve probably encountered a range of different abusive practices by advertisers – ranging from ads masquerading as error messages to ads with fake close boxes that...