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Back in April, a Wall Street Journal report claimed Google was planning to introduce an ad blocker directly into Chrome. The company later confirmed that the new addition was arriving early next year. Now, thanks to the latest version of Chrome’s developer build for Android – Canary – we’ve got our first look at the technology.
German-language site Caschys Blog was first to discover the ad blocker in Canary, which is used to test Chrome features before they arrive in the full version of the browser. The WSJ believed the blocker would be turned on by default, but that isn’t the case in this instance - it’s switched off and is activated via a toggle in the preferences.
It’s possible to check out the ad-blocking tech yourself by downloading Canary here. As it can be unstable and often fail to work, the app is recommended for developers and advanced users only, though it does run alongside the stable release of Chrome.
Google won’t be blocking all the ads, of course; that’s where the vast majority of its (and Alphabet’s) revenue comes from. Instead, it will only block ads that are “beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability,” as determined by industry group The Coalition for Better Ads, which counts Facebook, News Corp. and Google among its members.
Blocked ad types include full-page interstitials with countdowns, flashing advertisements, and those that unexpectedly play sounds. Google hopes this update to Chrome will encourage users not to install third-party blockers and is making life harder for those that do. The company is working on a tool called “Funding Choices” that allows publishers to display a customizable message to visitors asking them to, for example, disable their third-party ad blockers or pay a subscription to go ad free.