Google Chrome launches ad blocker

If you spend anytime at all online, you’ve been annoyed by advertisements that suddenly pop up on the screen and very loudly start playing a video for a retailer, insurance company or car dealer.

If you’re in an office or somewhere else other people might be disturbed, you end up quickly reaching for the volume button or slider. I hate those, and I’m sure you do too.

Google launched a filter to block some of the most annoying ads from playing and disrupting your browsing experience. The ad block filter, launched last Thursday, is still rolling out to many users. If you’re still seeing obnoxious auto-playing ads, they may disappear over the next several weeks.

Primarily, the ads that are being affected are the most disruptive. Full-screen graphics, auto-playing videos, and ones with very loud music or sound. Google has acknowledged those ads are a problem for users and has introduced a Coalition for Better Ads: a group of internet companies and advertisers that seek to find a way to share advertisements with potential customers without disrupting their browsing experience.

The search and advertising giant reviewed over 1,000 popular websites and found around half that violate new ad standards. Google informed companies of the new filter and gave them several months to make changes. Many complied, and Google said those that do not remove or adjust those ads could potentially have all advertisements removed.

Why would a company like Google that makes a substantial profit from advertising block or filter out some advertisements? Many Chrome browser users have installed third-party ad blockers that remove all ads, not just the ones that violate the new standards. By launching its own blocking software, Google aims to help content providers and advertisers by allowing unobtrusive advertisements to reach customers.

In a test, I found many of the websites that previously employed the pop-up advertisements no longer played them when I visited the site. Not all of them were blocked. If you continue to be annoyed by those advertisements, try the Firefox browser from Mozilla, which did block many of the pop-ups I continued to see in Chrome.

If you have installed an ad-blocker in Chrome, you may want to disable it to see if web pages load more quickly while still filtering out the auto-playing video ads.

Google is rolling out the new ad-blocker to its millions of users over the next several weeks.

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