Today, in the Wall Street Journal, a story nobody might have expected:
Alphabet Inc.’s Google is planning to introduce an ad-blocking feature in the mobile and desktop versions of its popular Chrome web browser, according to people familiar with the company’s plans.
The ad-blocking feature, which could be switched on by default within Chrome, would filter out certain online ad types deemed to provide bad experiences for users as they move around the web.
Google could announce the feature within weeks, but it is still ironing out specific details and still could decide not to move ahead with the plan, the people said.
Despite it seeming absurd at first, this is actually an incredibly smart move for Google. "Bad" programmatic advertising is plaguing the web right now, and there doesn't seem to be a way to fix it outside of downloading a third-party ad blocker.
If Google bundles a "good enough" ad blocker in Chrome that kills the cruft off, while retaining its own ads it means people aren't driven to the likes of Adblock Plus, a company which makes money off people who block ads by allowing some of them through.
I personally hope Google launches this. I'm tired of preaching how much better the web experience is with an ad blocker like uBlock, and I think even those who have no idea what one is would benefit from one — and it'll force developers to think twice about what they're doing.