Google is taking a counterintuitive approach to countering adblocking: building an adblocking feature of its own.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday night that Google is considering bringing an adblocking feature to the desktop and mobile versions of its Chrome web browser. The feature, which could be turned on by default, would block ads that don’t meet the standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads (of which Google and Facebook, among others, are both members and pay to fund), such as pop-ups, prestitials, and auto-play videos that have sound.
The company is also considering going a step further by blocking all ads on offending pages, rather than the offending ads alone, the Wall Street Journal reported. That could be bad news for publishers, which don’t always actively police the kinds of ads that appear on their pages.
Google alone will account for over 40 percent of digital advertising revenue in the U.S. this year, according to data from eMarketer. That’s double Facebook’s share.
But the move move makes more sense when you consider that, by leveraging the popularity of Chrome, Google could potentially wrest control over adblocking from popular third-party plugins like Adblock Plus. And Google could use that power to go after competitors like Facebook, which offers competing advertising products.
Such a move, on the other hand, could lead expose Google to antitrust suits from regulators concerned about the company using its products to suppress competition. Google could trade one problem for another.