Chrome Starts Blocking ‘Intrusive’ Ads

Chrome is now blocking what Google calls the most annoying ads. It says the browser-based blocks will only apply to the ads that most disrupt people from browsing the web as they intended.

The move has been almost a year in the making, with the development process leading Google to decide that in many if not most cases it was the website rather than the individual ads that caused the biggest disruption to users. That’s because otherwise unproblematic ads can be disruptive when displayed in particular ways or combinations.

The block is based on ads that breach the Better Ads Standards, which were developed by the Coalition for Better Ads. That’s a trade body made up of online advertisers and publishers. They surveyed 40,000 internet users to find which ads caused the most disruption. To start with, 12 specific forms of ad display (pictured above) will be considered to breach the standards.

Rather than block individual ads, Google plans to check through a random selection of pages from every site. Sites that have a particular (but unspecified) number of breaches will get a warning. If they fail to address the warning within a set time period, Chrome will begin blocking all ads on the site, regardless of where they come from.

Targeting sites rather than specific ads also helps Google overcome the obvious conflict of interests that it is a major player in both the browser and online ad markets. It notes that although its own ads don’t breach the standards, they’ll still be affected by any site-wide blocks.

When Chrome displays a page from an affected site, it will include a small message to the user noting that ads have been blocked, linking to a fuller explanation, and allowing the user to override the block and always see ads on the site.

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