Google has started to block “annoying” and “disruptive” ads by default on its Chrome browser.
The changes, announced in April last year, took effect on Thursday.
Google Chrome vice president Rahul Roy-Chowdhury said in a blog post: “Feedback has shown that a big source of frustration is annoying ads: video ads that play at full blast or giant pop-ups where you can’t seem to find the exit icon.
“These ads are designed to be disruptive and often stand in the way of people using their browsers for their intended purpose—connecting them to content and information.
“It’s clear that annoying ads degrade what we all love about the web.”
He said Chrome will “stop showing all ads on sites that repeatedly display these most disruptive ads after they’ve been flagged”.
Chrome is used by more than half of all worldwide internet users, according to online analytics tool Statcounter.
Ads are deemed “disruptive” based on the Better Ad Standards guidelines from industry group Coalition for Better Ads.
Said Roy-Chowdhury: “The web is an ecosystem composed of consumers, content producers, hosting providers, advertisers, web designers, and many others.
“It’s important that we work to maintain a balance—and if left unchecked, disruptive ads have the potential to derail the entire system.
“We’ve already seen more and more people express their discontent with annoying ads by installing ad blockers, but blocking all ads can hurt sites or advertisers who aren’t doing anything disruptive.
“By focusing on filtering out disruptive ad experiences, we can help keep the entire ecosystem of the web healthy, and give people a significantly better user experience than they have today.”
Across the industry, ad-blocking has disrupted news publishers’ ability to create revenue from digital display advertising.
It was said to be putting “severe pressure” on the UK news media industry in the 2016 Digital News Report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
Chrome already blocks pop-ups that open in new tabs and shows warnings before malware pages. It also offers a number of ad-block extensions for the web browser which are provided by third parties.
Google’s move comes after Adblock Plus, the most downloaded online ad-blocking software, launched its Acceptable Ads Platform that whitelists types of adverts – a move described by the Internet Advertising Bureau as “cynical”.
Picture: Reuters/Stephen Lam