There is no denying that pop-up and video type ads are extremely frustrating disturbances that have become a common occurrence while exploring the web. In fact, they’ve become so intrusive that millions of users have turned to ad-blocking software to combat this issue.
Google recently integrated an ad filter into Chrome which would block those obnoxious ads and allow quality ones to display. While this sounds like a win-win, we can’t help but wonder who benefits more-- Chrome users or Google itself?
“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,” a Google vice president said. Overall, this move appears to be a huge improvement for web users, as well as publishers and quality advertisers. However, we have some concerns. Since Google Chrome is the most popular web browser and Google is part of the group who decides which ads are considered to be intrusive or not, are we giving Google too much power over the internet?
Scott Spencer, a director of product management at Google, said “Google is not neutral when it comes to the open web. We’re a search company...but we’re also obviously an ad-serving company.” Mr. Spencer compared the web to a series of roads crowded by people trying to get to work. “At some point, someone has the idea that we need to put in some traffic lights.”
Giving Google the power to install and control these stoplights should raise questions about what sort of role the company has and should have on the web. Should we allow Google to continue its reign as a gatekeeper of the web at the risk of it becoming a monopoly in the industry? But perhaps it’s the other way around, and Google has had to reluctantly step up as a leader because no other company was in the position to establish the rules. While we are in support of Google offering an alternative to ad-blocking software, we can’t ignore the concerns.
So, what are your thoughts about Google’s new ad blocker?