If rumors are correct, ad-blocking will make its way to the desktop and mobile versions of Chrome sometime next year. Google's initiative could preempt the use of third-party ad-blocking software.
The ad-blocker, which will default to "on", will block ads that interfere with the user experience, which includes auto-play ads with sound or pop-up ads.
Business Insider is among the participating sites, Google confirmed. To determine which ads are acceptable, Google is apparently relying on standards set by the industry group the Coalition for Better Ads.
Assuming it comes to pass, the move will undoubtedly upset some publishers and could even trigger litigation.
When news first broke of the feature, we could not help but think the move is a bit counter-intuitive, since Google's revenue heavily depends on online advertisements. Not only does it offer the world's most widely used browser, it also runs some of the web's biggest online properties and one of the biggest networks for placing ads all over the net.
It's a U-turn from Google's position previous year, when the company said it wouldn't include an ad blocker in Chrome. While Google says it will block any ads that are not compliant with the Better Ads Standards, including those "owned or served by Google", it creates a gray area for sure. That tracking can mean if you look at one website you might see an ad for its services later in Facebook, or if you search for a product on Amazon, you might see an ad for it later on another site. If they select neither choice, they won't be able to view the website.
Google and the Coalition for Better Ads didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.