Google announced the availability of Chrome 64 for Android yesterday. The new version features protections against abuse ad experiences according to Google among other improvements.
Google notes on the official Chrome Releases blog that Chrome 64 for Android” prevents sites with abusive ad experiences from opening new windows or tabs” without user permission.
The new functionality is not the built-in adblocker that Google plans to enable on February 15, 2017, but a different kind of blocking mechanism.
Many websites load ad scripts to earn revenue from user visits. Google operates the largest advertising network in the world, but there are hundreds if not thousands of other companies out there that offer advertising solutions as well.
Companies and individuals may run advertising campaigns on these networks. It happened in the past that malicious or abusive code was run on networks including Google’s.
We had our fair share of them as well here on Ghacks’ mobile site, and could not do anything about it other than banning these ads or companies from the site after someone informed us about it.
The ads would load eventually while users browsed an article or page on the site. They’d load another page on a completely unrelated website and display a scary warning to the user in the process.
This was bad for some reasons:
- The redirection happened automatically and not by user request.
- The ad was scareware at best and malicious in the worst case.
- The user could not read the entire article or continue on the website in question.
- The website’s reputation suffered.
Many users blamed the sites for that. While there is certainly some truth to that, most site owners have little to no control over ads displayed on their sites. If you embed Google ad code, for instance, Google’s algorithms pick the best candidate out of a pool.
Google Chrome’s new protective functionality aims to block these experiences in the browser. It is interesting to note that Google is part of the problem and the solution, at least in Chrome.
Some advertisers will abuse whatever options they have at their disposal, and it seems that Google’s ad division has a hard time figuring out how to clean its network from these advertisers. I assume that it is in Google’s best interest to clean house and the company may have plans that it did not announce to do so.
Right now, however, it looks as if it plans to block these ad experiences in Chrome. This should take care of them regardless of whether they come from Google’s network or other networks, but it won’t change the situation for users who use other browsers.
Google Chrome 64 for Android rolls out over the course of weeks. It is already available on sites such as APK Mirror however if you want to test the new functionality. You may also install a browser like Firefox or Opera to block advertisement entirely.