Most people have experienced this sort of thing at least once in their life: browsing through what looks like sketchy websites in search for something hard-to-find, finally stumbling upon what seems like a legitimate site, then hoping and praying that it's finally the one.
But then clicking anything on the site opens up a full-blown ad in a new window or tab, or it redirects the current page to another entirely sketchy ad. The seemingly legitimate site has morphed into an annoying full-page monstrosity, complete with shady-looking buttons that read "Click here to win!" or "Fill out this survey to download your file." Yep. Totally legit.
Google Doubles Down On Misbehaving Ads
It's the sort of internet behavior that Google rightly calls "unwanted behavior," and it's going to take some steps to try and avoid that from ever happening again.
As part of its effort to make internet browsing a more pleasant experience by reducing ads or curbing their activity, Google is introducing some new features to Chrome that addresses unwanted behavior on websites. Over the next couple of months, Chrome will block different types of frustrating, unwanted "redirects," where a website suddenly loads a new page to force its visitors to view ads.
How Google Plans To Kill Annoying Redirects
It's a three-part strategy. First, Chrome will block ads that redirect users to another site even when they aren't clicked on. If it attempts to redirect, Chrome will send a notification saying that a redirect has been blocked.
Second, Google will start blocking a different type of redirect, where the link clicked on opens in a new tab but the current page morphs into an ad. Google says this type of behavior bypasses Chrome's native pop-up blocker and will prevent the original tab from redirecting.
Finally, Google will begin targeting websites that are far more clever in hiding redirects. These include sites that have redirect buttons disguised as download links or playback controls, for example.
The first two steps will arrive as part of Chrome 64 and 65. The stricter redirect policies will be released to everyone in early 2018, according to Google. On top of that, Chrome 64 will also feature autoplay blocking, which will block autoplaying videos on webpages.
Google has released a tool called Abusive Experiences Report that'll enable developers to check which sites are following Google's new redirect rules. Sites found in violation of those will have 30 days before Google completely prevents them from ever opening new tabs or windows.
This news follows Google's previous announcement indicating plans to integrate an ad blocker into Chrome early next year, for which it has yet to give a proper release date. A native Chrome ad blocker is good news for regular users, because it means they'll see less ads when browsing. If they do see ads, they likely won't be as annoying or sketchy as redirects.
Google working against sketchy or misbehaving ads is promising. Because of Chrome's scale, Google can literally alter the course of how the internet behaves — or should behave. Chrome currently holds about 60 percent of the browser market, as per NetMarketShare. Developers would most definitely want to follow Google's policies lest they risk getting blocked from millions of users.