Google recently rolled out a built-in ad blocker for Chrome, but it's not good news for everyone involved.
For the average user, the new feature is a welcome addition to their everyday lives in browsing the web, as it aims to get rid of annoying ads such as full-page pop-ups and auto-play videos. Some might even be persuaded to stop using third-party ad blockers that typically cut down revenues, making some ad-reliant websites and advertisers glad of the move.
However, the way Google handled things may have sparked concern among other players in the industry.
Chrome's Native Ad Blocker Causes Worry
The Coalition for Better Ads, a group where Google is a member of the board, has set a standard that publishers have to abide by, otherwise they face the risk of getting stripped of all their ads, not to mention that they have to go through a couple of hoops to get their ads restored. They're not the ones who are the most vocal in speaking up against the changes, though.
In a bit of an ironic twist, those who are worried the most about the implementation are members of the coalition itself, according to The Wall Street Journal (paywall). That's because Google basically established the standards by leading the research carried out to decide which ads are invasive and which ones are OK.
More than that, Johnny Ryan, the head of ecosystem at PageFair, which is a company that aims to reestablish "a fair deal between users and content creators" by keeping websites safe from ad blockers, points out that YouTube ads that pop up before a video plays were excluded from the research.
"Though Chrome's adblocker is a welcome improvement for users, it is not surprising that website owners are aghast that ads are being cleaned up on their sites, while Google's own formats go unharmed," he tells CNBC.
Total Control Over What Users See
Chrome is one of the most-used web browsers across the desktop and mobile platforms. As evidence to that, StatCounter has it pegged at 56.31 percent market share for overall usage. Meanwhile, Google's online ad business is the largest around.
This huge lead and power in the competition allows the company to have near-complete control over what the majority of users worldwide can and cannot see on the internet, which has caused advertising companies to worry.
To boil things down, Google has reportedly more or less determined the standards for ads online and left out some of its own to save them from scrutiny. This is said to have occurred as the company continues to hold a dominating position in the industry in terms of browser market share and online ads, giving it a strong, tight grasp on the internet.