Google has plans to introduce a built-in ad blocker for its Chrome browser.
While Google has already warned publishers about the change, the ad blocker is now starting to show up in pre-release versions of the Chrome for Android app. TechCrunch reports that the ad blocker can be found in the latest Chrome Canary app for Android. Testers can download the latest Chrome Canary build from Google Play to try out the ad blocker.
The ad blocker was discovered by German-language Caschys Blog. In Canary, it takes the form of a toggle in preferences, though it’s switched off by default. Not all Canary users have received the setting at this time, so it appears to be a server-side update.
Part of the reason Google is waiting until the new year to launch its ad blocker is to give web developers some time to prepare. Chrome’s native solution won’t block all ads indiscriminately — only those ads that don’t comply with Google’s new guidelines that denote “intrusive” ads. That includes pop-ups (which Chrome already blocks), autoplay videos, and timed ads that lock away content behind a countdown.
While the tech giant makes the majority of its revenue through its own ad business, it’s determined to tackle what it describes as “intrusive ads.” Unacceptable ads are being determined by a group called the Coalition for Better Ads, which includes Google, Facebook, News Corp, and The Washington Post as members. The controversial addition of an ad blocker directly within Chrome will likely generate a lot of debate around Google’s control of the web and ads, and this test version will help direct that feedback to Google.