Chrome's default ad blocker strengthens Google's data-driven advertising platforms

Google's browser now blocks certain ad formats by default. This move is less about improving the browsing experience and more about forcing publishers and advertisers to switch to Google’s data-driven advertising platforms.


Björn GreifEditor

Google has turned on the default ad blocker within its Chrome browser, which it announced in June 2017. However, not all ads are blocked but only those that do not comply with the standards of the Coalition for Better Ads, co-founded by Google. The blocked ads include, for example, pop-up ads, prestitial ads, auto-play video ads with sound and flashing animated ads.

From a consumer’s point of view, less intrusive ad formats are of course desirable. Google’s approach is therefore basically heading in the right direction. From a privacy perspective, however, the “Better Ads” are no less aggressive than previous forms of advertising. Highly targeted ads based on detailed user profiles work subtle. They replace aggressive visuals with targeted manipulation.

Such intrusive ad formats will automatically be blocked by Chrome in the future (Source: Coalition for Better Ads).
Such intrusive ad formats will automatically be blocked by Chrome in the future (Source: Coalition for Better Ads).

Google forces websites to meet its ad standards

Violations of the Better Ads standards are reported to site owners. They will have 30 days to make changes and to submit their site for re-review. If the violations have not been fixed within this period, Chrome will automatically remove the ads in question from the site. This way, Google ultimately forces the entire ecosystem to switch to data-driven advertising. In the growth market of data-driven ads, only very few companies will be able to succeed, and Google does everything to stay on the top.

“This new Chrome feature is less an ad blocker and more of an ad enforcer. If you’re looking for motivation behind Chrome’s built-in ad blocker, it’s less about improving the browsing experience for users and more about forcing publishers and advertisers towards ad standards that benefit Google,” says Ghostery’s Director of Product Jeremy Tillman. “The fact that it is threatening to block all ads on pages that fail to meet its standards within 30 days seems like an obvious ploy to move more publishers to Google’s advertising platforms, which relies on deep and exhaustive data collection that Google has no incentive to curb.”

This is why Google will never stop grabbing as many data as possible about you. As the knowledge about the consumer becomes even more valuable in the market of data-driven ads, surveillance will grow.

Internet users can hardly escape Google

Google does not only collect ad-relevant data about you with their own browser, search engine, and other services, but also by tracking you on other websites. According to a study by Ghostery and Cliqz, Google is the largest operator of third-party tracking scripts. On 6 out of 10 websites you visit, Big Google is watching you. Even if you’ve never used one of their products, Google probably knows all about you and your browsing habits.

Therefore, users who value their privacy should continue to use standalone ad blockers and anti-tracking tools such as Ghostery, Adblock Plus, Privacy Badger, uBlock origin, or the Cliqz Browser. This way, they can be sure, that their privacy is protected. Additionally, by blocking ads and the associated tracking scripts, websites look cleaner and load considerably faster.