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Self-regulation? Google pitches in to de-clutter the digital space

So here’s some good news; to make it even better, it comes from Google. While reports of Google working on an app to filter digital advertisements had been doing the rounds for quite some time, the Chrome default ad-blocker became a reality last week, to the relief of millions who use the browser on desktops and mobile devices.

What determines whether a particular piece of advertisement is good or bad? Well, the Chrome app will follow guidelines set by the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA), which is represented by tech majors like Facebook and Google. In a broad sense, the app will filter sticky pop-up ads, as well as auto-play videos and ads with the countdown feature. That means websites failing to adhere to the CBA norms will face the music from Chrome.

Publishers of intrusive commercials have been granted 30 days’ time to remove their content from websites. After that, the Chrome app will start blocking the ads. The primary target will be full-page ads that prevent the intended web page from showing – the most annoying of them all. It is learnt that Google has taken the who’s who of the ad industry into confidence before taking up the initiative.

The Chrome ad filterer is designed to remove the most annoying ads (Image courtesy: the NJCCIC)

Unlike AdBlock, the Chrome app is designed to take a softer approach towards ad publishers. It is not surprising that Google wants to look at the issue from a different perceptive, because currently all ad publishers including Google are in the firing line of AdBlock. Being an advertiser, Google will play the role of a regulator to the internet ad scene, rather than removing all the advertisements deemed to be dodgy and annoying. It is hard to miss the two-pronged strategy of Google, which itself is an ad-tech company – get a tighter grip on the digital world, while protecting itself from third-party ad filters.

Publishers of intrusive commercials have been granted 30 days’ time to remove their content from websites.

Chrome will remove ads that appear in the negative list of the Experience Report consistently for one month. Before acting, the browser will communicate the matter to the respective publishers and instruct them to remove the content. It is learnt that earlier warnings in this regard have paid off, with the majority of the publishers taking steps to address the issue well in advance.

Meanwhile, there is growing skepticism among Google’s critics, who feel the idea of an ad-tech company developing an ad filter is questionable. Some believe the Chrome app will only serve the purpose of implementing Google’s agenda through selective filtering, thereby exacerbating the problem.

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