Google has opened a new leaf of controversy after reports emerged that it would be soon integrating native ad-blocking feature in its mobile and desktop browser. The move is likely to have a wide impact across blogs and even publications that rely on advertisements for revenues. Even though Google is yet to announce the feature, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager has said the body is monitoring the issue.
“We will follow this new feature and it’s effects closely,” Margrethe said while responding to a question from a reporter. It is worth pointing out here that Margrethe has been highly critical of Google over the alleged breach of antitrust laws in digital advertising.
Google has already been involved in a range of legal tussles with the EU’s antitrust body. As far as a native ad blocker goes, the EU body will be interested in checking whether the feature could hurt third-party ad blockers. Google has not yet responded to Margrethe’s tweet as yet.
— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) April 20, 2017
If you haven’t been up to date with the controversy, here’s what you need to know. According to a report, Google is soon going to add the feature for its Chrome browser on desktop and mobile that will block certain ads or filter out ads completely from websites. Google will crack down on the websites that have “bad ads.” The feature is unlikely to function or appear the way traditional ad blockers. ALSO READ: Why Google adding native ad-blocker into Chrome could be the right move
A native ad blocking in mobile/desktop browser isn’t a new controversy. While browsers will like to defend the move citing improving user experience whereas the publishers are opposing because it will hurt their revenues. Just a few months ago, top news publications in India opposed ad blockers by forcing users to turn off ad blockers if they wished to read the content on their websites.
In 2015, a German publishing company Axel Springer imposed a ban on users from accessing their Bild news website for using ad blockers. Another major publication Forbes enforced a similar ban on users whereas Wired last year introduced a paywall wherein it asked to pay $1 per week to view an ad-free version of the website. A similar paywall has been introduced by some Indian websites as well. ALSO READ:Google Chrome v57 update focuses on reducing CPU load, better battery life
The ad-blocking development is going to have a huge impact on users in India. According to a report in May 2016, India had about 89 mobile adblocking browsers just behind China, which had 116 million such users.