TekMol 7 days ago

I wish Google would do something against the so called 'Rogue Redirect Ads' in their AdSense network. Ads that redirect the parent frame.

When I browse the web on my Android phone, I get redirected to spam every 10 pageviews or so. And no, it's not a problem of the phone. It's a known issue that ads can break out of their iframe:

https://www.androidpolice.com/2017/11/08/heres-protect-rogue...

IMO Javascript should not be allowed in ads at all. Unless that gets implemented, I have the feeling that all blog posts about improving the user experience are just lip service.

  • vorpalhex 7 days ago

    > IMO Javascript should not be allowed in ads at all.

    I agree fully. I think part of the issue is that the folks submitting ads want to collect a lot of data. They probably don't use that data (or if they do, not well), nor do I trust them to not collect very invasive and unsafe data, but I suspect for many folks that having their own JS payload makes or breaks a possible ad network.

    Given concerns about Monero mining, redirects, and other hijinks, removing JS from ads is even more critical now. I think the compromise will be to give ads some kind of network provided hook to get data back to "home" eventually, though then the issues above only shift from the ad provider to the ad network provider.

    • Klathmon 6 days ago

      Or at the very least, provide a domain-specific-language that "compiles" to JS that can do very limited things like animations and others.

      That combined with requiring all of the assets to be hosted on the ad-network's servers would greatly improve the experience. (mainly because ad-networks are larger companies that the host website has a direct relationship with, so when users complain the site can talk to the ad-network, and the ad network can instantly do something about it)

      Sadly, they have no incentive to do that, as those ads would be more expensive to create, most likely make less money, and most users that block ads block all of them regardless of how invasive they are. Adblockers treat all ads the same, and so now advertisers are faced with the choices of:

      1. make more shitty invasive ads

      2. make "better" ads (better for the user) and make less money while spending more and having users still block them anyway.

      This is why I really believe that the "better ads" thing from google and others is a really good idea, because it helps re-align the incentives back with the user in some ways. If that works, shitty ads will be blocked much more widely, while good ads will get more views and more users.

      • feikname 6 days ago

        I believe the term you are looking for is "transpiler".

        • Klathmon 6 days ago

          No, it's a full compiler that would compile a DSL into JavaScript. Just because it's "to JavaScript" doesn't mean it's a transpiler.

  • adamgamble 7 days ago
    • TekMol 7 days ago

      I know that they have this new mechanism in Chrome 64. That is actually mentioned in the article I linked to.

      But I would prefer if the did not deliver Javascript inside ads in the first place.

      • matt4077 6 days ago

        So you when you said you'd "wish Google would do something" you already knew that, in fact, they have already done something?

        And presumably the use of this lie was to provide an example to support your argument that ads should not contain Javascript at all?

        • spiznnx 6 days ago

          Google runs an ad network and releases a browser. Presumably he is aware that Chrome is doing something, but wishes that AdSense and DoubleClick would do something.

  • y03a 7 days ago

    If you're on Android I very highly recommend using Firefox with uBlock Origin.

    • sergiosgc 7 days ago

      Or Firefox Focus. It quickly became my default browser on Android, with the regular Firefox left for sites where I maintain a session.

      • y03a 7 days ago

        Focus is probably the best option on iOS but I don't trust Mozilla to block tracking the way I want it done, I'm far more comfortable with uBlock Origin handling it. If I want the extra protection of deleting my cookies and history on exit I'd rather just start a private tab. Most of the time, I want to stay logged in on sites.

        • scarface74 6 days ago

          Why Focus on iOS? iOS has had a framework for third party content blockers for years. If you install a content blocker for iOS, it also works with other apps depending on which webview they use. For instance they work with Feedly.

        • mulmen 7 days ago

          Why do you distrust Mozilla in this case?

    • amq 7 days ago

      Or Brave.

      • dingo_bat 6 days ago

        Brave is not usable yet in mobile, from my experience. I'll give them a few more cycles before using it full time on phone. Desktop version is much better though.

        • amq 6 days ago

          From my experience it's as good/fast as Chrome + the ad blocking.

  • incognito92735 7 days ago

    > Ads that redirect the parent frame.

    Putting the ad in an iframe without the allow-top-navigation[0] sandbox permission could prevent that. Or if the ad naturally consists of an iframe then a browser extension could intercept the iframe load and add the equivalent CSP rule[1]. Or google could do that themselves. I think they would still be allowed to open in a new tab.

    [0] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTML/Element/if... [1] https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTTP/Headers/Co...

  • freehunter 7 days ago

    Similar things happen on iOS, too. I can't tell you how many times I'm trying to go to a seemingly legitimate site on my iPhone and I get redirected a dozen times and end up at "You've won a free Samsung tablet!" instead of the content I asked for.

    • Polyphonie 6 days ago

      You're probably either not using the right ad-blocker or fail to configure the ad-block properly. If you just want a content-blocker that works in Safari- I find Purify works the best. If you want a full system ad-blocker which works in most apps- NYT, BBC, Chrome though not in the YouTube, Instagram, Twitter apps- it would have to be a DNS based Ad-blocker like Adguard Pro.

  • sekh60 7 days ago

    Try firefox on Android. It has full extension support, so you can use whatever adblocker or javascript blockers you like.

    • tdeck 6 days ago

      Brave is also a good choice.

  • com2kid 6 days ago

    I saw this happen on an AMP page.

    I was... rather surprised. One of AMP's huge value props is preventing that type of garbage.

    I'm also surprised that the publisher did that, I hope that'd be a good way to get blacklisted from the higher search ranking placement.

  • toomanybeersies 6 days ago

    I started getting them for a while a few month ago. It made browsing certain sites on my phone almost impossible, I'd get a rogue redirect literally every time I tried to access the page.

  • 0xfeba 7 days ago

    Thanks for reminding me about this problem. A few websites I visit have spammy ads that do this and it is very frustrating, but I forget as soon as I leave the loo.

    And now I have FF and uBlock Origin on my phone.

  • h1d 6 days ago

    How do you define "ads"?

  • javery 7 days ago

    There is some work going on to remove Javascript, but it is slow going. Most publishers won't trade off revenue for performance and security so there is no incentive for the buyers to change their ways.

    • TekMol 7 days ago

      Giving publishers a choice would be a start. A checkbox 'Allow JavaScript' for AdSense publishers and a way to run revenue experiments about JS on/off.

    • stordoff 7 days ago

      That does raise the question is Google big/ubiquitous enough to force that on publishers? If Google unilaterally decided no more JS in ads., would the publishers grumble about it but adapt, or would they look to other ad networks.

      • marcodave 6 days ago

        ...onwards to the WebAssembly ads!

  • dingo_bat 6 days ago

    You should use a system wide ad blocker. Adhell2 is a good one. I've stopped seeing any kind of ads in my phone, even inside apps.

aplorbust 7 days ago

Apologies if the comparison offends anyone but every time I see PR (public relations) about ad-blocking by Google, I see them as a company like Goldman Sachs, who has taken positions on both sides of a bet, so to speak.

There is a glaring conflict of interest as others have pointed out; it cannot be ignored. Through strategic acquisitons such as Doubleclick, Google and its subsidiaries are the largest warehouse of advertising on the www. The company is the machine that keeps web advertising humming along.

Google wants to keep everyone happy. Users are fed up with advertising. For example, Google could offer a search engine free of any ads, as they did in the early days.FN1 They have more than enough cash to do it. This would make users very happy. Google could try to support itself by selling something, besides advertising. But this will not happen. Why? (Rhetorical question. Not asking for an answer. We all know what it is.)

By creating a web-advertising juggernaut and collecting the maximum allowable quantity information about users through every means legally possible, (far beyond merely search engine usage) Google has taken a position against users (the ones who dislike ads) as well as for them (as argued in myriad PR pieces).

Google is not curbing it own actions (as the #1 promoter of advertising on the www), instead it is taking aim at advertisers. Some of those could be existing or potential clients (which might seem intriguing).

But while its clients (be they advertisers, users or others) may experience "losses", like Goldman (or not; sorry, bad analogy!), Google always "wins".

Any PR piece proclaiming that Google is taking sides with users (for a "better web") ignores that they also have taken sides with advertisers. Google has big bets on advertising. As everyone knows, users do not contribute significant inputs to the Google balance sheet; advertisers do.

FN1 At that time one of the Google founders called out advertising as being something to avoid. Interestingly, there was no "disruptive" vs "non-disruptive" advertising distinction.

  • euyyn 7 days ago

    > Google could offer a search engine free of any ads, as they did in the early days. They have more than enough cash to do it. This would make users very happy. Google could try to support itself by selling something, besides advertising.

    This reasoning doesn't make sense to me. Many startups offer their services for free or low cost, burning cash, to acquire users/mind-share until they find a way to be profitable. Google and Facebook found advertising as that way, and thus survived instead of running out of money. And are able to offer their services for free.

    "Google should ditch that and start again" doesn't even start to make sense.

    • criley2 6 days ago

      I think his claim is more of "The Search Product" can be run as a loss-leading free product just like Youtube was, while they profit elsewhere.

      And he covers this with the rhetorical question: They can do these things, but they don't, because being as anti-user as possible (while putting out the occasional fluff PR piece) earns them billions and billions and billions of dollars.

      He's basically saying "Google could remove advertising and figure out how to make money without being one of the most user-hostile organizations in software history, but they don't because their hostility to privacy and their revolution in combining aggressively curated private data with advertising has made them one of the richest corporations in history"

      • chii 6 days ago

        > while they profit elsewhere.

        what is this elsewhere of which you speak? Google apps for your domain? Youtube red? Android licensing fees?

        The truth can be seen from the way users behave. Nobody wants to pay any money for online services, and if google were to stop advertising, they'd basically be bankrupt as the userbase is not willing to pay the equivalent amount to google that they derive from selling user data.

        • euyyn 6 days ago

          To be clear, Google doesn't sell user data to anyone. In fact, it's got the strongest of incentives to keep other companies or hackers away from the data of their users. Which is maybe why Google's security team is what it is.

        • andrewaylett 6 days ago

          > not willing to pay the equivalent amount to google that they derive from selling user data

          I think that's the GP's point -- but Google has enough cash in the bank that they could probably continue to provide services indefinitely if they took the decision to divest themselves of advertising and re-organise themselves appropriately.

        • _Tev 4 days ago

          > Nobody wants to pay any money for online services

          I wish this meme would die already. Youtube red cannot be purchased in half the world. Google the search engine does not even have pay-for-no-ads offering that I know of.

          You can't say they actually tried to get money from users yet.

  • ubercore 7 days ago

    Google has also learned the lesson though that ads which produce a negative user impression aren't sustainable, and bad for both Google and advertisers. They have a vested long-term interest in making ads palatable and useful, or their cash cow goes away. Their incentives mesh with mine -- I would be less likely to demand ad blocker if ads weren't so disruptive.

    • oldcynic 7 days ago

      > Their incentives mesh with mine

      If that were the case Chrome's disruptive ad blocker would have been released shortly after the rise of flash ads

      If that were the case I would be able to completely opt out of tracking and accept slightly less targeted ads

      We could go on and on here. Suffice to say I do not believe Google's incentives align with most on the web any more.

      • davidcbc 7 days ago

        > If that were the case Chrome's disruptive ad blocker would have been released shortly after the rise of flash ads

        This seems like an odd argument. Are uBlock's incentives unaligned with yours because they didn't release their adblocker earlier? What does the timing of the release have to do with anything?

        > If that were the case I would be able to completely opt out of tracking and accept slightly less targeted ads

        You can opt out of tracking and ad targeting https://myaccount.google.com/u/1/privacy

        • oldcynic 7 days ago

          > uBlock's incentives unaligned with yours because they didn't release their adblocker earlier

          Not really a fair comparison - uBlock aren't selling ads. Google are and have been for a decade. There have been many occasions that search has been compromised via advertising from the days of SERPs being mostly adsense mini sites years ago. The response to those also took years despite search being near ruined. Google could have done far more far sooner.

      • ubercore 7 days ago

        Well, I was just talking for myself. For instance, ad tracking personally doesn't bother me. What bothers me is intrusive ads that interrupt my normal browsing experience.

    • kakarot 7 days ago

      Until there are better integrated controls for deciding which arbitrary code blobs run on your computer, a large majority of people using adblockers will continue to do so despite Google's efforts.

      • davidcbc 7 days ago

        I question whether a "large majority" of people using adblockers are aware they are doing anything other than blocking ads. The HN crowd tends to overestimate the tech-savviness of the general population when it comes to this stuff.

        • Tushon 7 days ago

          OP said "large majority of people using adblockers", not that a large majority were already using them.

      • yeukhon 7 days ago

        Yes, but often I will temporarily lift the block to load the page (just a few mins ago I was on AWS announcement page, I couldn’t play a video unless I reload the page without content blocker. Not only do we have a tracking epidemic, we have external js issue. I have to either whitelist fonts.google.com and some other js libraries, or else explicitly reload page without blocker whenever I see a broken website... this security-privacy consciousness i is a good trade-off, but can we, as developers, do something?

  • craftyguy 7 days ago

    It's not a hedge bet, necessarily. It's a way for them to get direct input from users on which ads are tolerable and which are not. This information will undoubtedly be used to make ads 'more tolerable' so that Google's bottom line is not impacted.

    I wonder if we're heading into a new era where online advertisements will become indistinguishable from non-ads. For example, a picture of your friend vs a picture of your friend with a soda bottle subtly added. That would be more tolerable to most everyone when compared to a flashy gif of that soda bottle bouncing around in your browser.

    • r00fus 7 days ago

      Wouldn't that "picture of your friend with a soda bottle" be considered a violation of the property rights of whoever took that picture? (lets leave alone the idea that the ad insertion violates the viewer's rights to unadulterated content - that could potentially be waived as a part of the EULA/TOS).

      • craftyguy 7 days ago

        I don't think so. Many platforms include EULAs that basically state that they own content you upload to them.

        > viewer's rights to unadulterated content

        Not that I necessarily agree with you that this should be a right, but where in the world is anyone enforcing this as a right?

    • yeukhon 7 days ago

      Well, we are used to the kind you spoke of already. Soda, fastfood and car brands are mentioned in films and music videos. But if some Javascript adds a soda bottle to my friend’s picture, I can see that as a potential violation (if you use facebook, you would probably get a “You and Bob have friends for ten years now” greeting slideshow... made by facebook with effects. But I haven’t heard anyone sueing FB yet).

      • tomtang0514 7 days ago

        What if instead of adding a soda bottle, they recognize there's a soda bottle in your friends' posts already and bump those images up in your feed?

        • yeukhon 7 days ago

          That’s a good point, maybe I misread the initial post.

  • setr 7 days ago

    >For example, Google could offer a search engine free of any ads, as they did in the early days.FN1 They have more than enough cash to do it.

    Doesn't google still make like 80% of its revenue off advertising in search? If its true, then they really don't have the money to drop it

    And instead of viewing it as double-betting, it can just as easily be seen as a compromise. They still want to advertise, and makes sense for them to want to, and the truly troublesome ads are poisoning the water for everyone, by leading (normal) people to total solutions ie adblock. Which is bad for business. In which case, you should expect them to find a middle-ground solution, and it would be absurd for google to move in either direction too strongly (because the money's not there).

    Its not that they're taking sides, but that they're trying not to.

  • dvfjsdhgfv 7 days ago

    > There is a glaring conflict of interest as others have pointed out; it cannot be ignored. Through strategic acquisitons such as Doubleclick, Google and its subsidiaries are the largest warehouse of advertising on the www.

    The point is, they're not only a near-monopoly in web advertising, but also have very detailed data about their competitors (via GA and many other products) AND now are controlling the channel for 60% of users. It's unbelievable they managed to pull this out and still so few people seem to care.

    • thisacctforreal 6 days ago

      AFAIAC, Google should not exist in its current form. I'd urge employees to question if they think the organization should exist as it is.

      I hear the job is great, and the technical challenges are certainly wonderful, but Google and Facebook are the perfect setup for a turn-key tyranny.

  • nfRfqX5n 7 days ago

    > Google could try to support itself by selling something, besides advertising.

    what could they possibly sell that would even come close to replacing ad revenue?

  • s2g 7 days ago

    It’s not both sides, it’s just more control of the online advertising industry.

    Google should be broken up over this type of behaviour. Spend too much money in Washington though.

troydavis 7 days ago

Meanwhile, Google still hasn't added a way disable auto-playing videos (regardless of whether a video is muted) in Chrome.

Safari has easy options to set both a default and per-site preferences (https://support.apple.com/guide/safari/stop-autoplay-videos-...), including a "Never Auto-Play" choice. Despite years of user complaints and a fairly clear resolution to them, Chrome either watered-down their fix or solved the wrong problem entirely.

  • cpeterso 7 days ago

    You can disable autoplay in Firefox by setting the following about:config prefs:

      media.autoplay.enabled = false
      media.autoplay.enabled.user-gestures-needed = true
    
    This feature is not currently enabled because it can confuse some websites' video players. They can get stuck in a bad state because their JavaScript assumes the video is playing, but because Firefox didn't autoplay it the player buttons don't work correctly.
    • dingo_bat 6 days ago

      I hate these decisions by Firefox where they don't enable something because it would be inconvenient for websites! They should enable it and websites should fix their broken players.

      • kevin_thibedeau 6 days ago

        Then their naive users would abandon them en masse because Facebook and YouTube won't work right. The thing to hate is that useful settings like this aren't in a more readily accessible preferences dialog for the rank and file to discover. You have to be told it's there or go spelunking through about:config.

  • ceejayoz 7 days ago

    > Meanwhile, Google still hasn't added a way disable auto-playing videos (regardless of whether a video is muted) in Chrome.

    This bit is especially infuriating for me, as there seems to be a High Sierra issue with Chrome and videos (for me, at least - it's hard to figure out how widespread it is). They cause massive browser lag when they're on a page for me, to the point of missed characters while typing.

  • blaenk 7 days ago

    I use Iridium for this and other things: https://github.com/ParticleCore/Iridium

    I tried setting the Autoplay policy at the browser level once but found that it was inconsistent and broke certain players. Iridium works perfectly.

  • drewg123 7 days ago

    There is supposedly a way. On Chrome 63 and newer, you can set "Document user activation" in chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy & relaunch.

    However, it does not seem to do much, if anything, for me. I tend to just use Privacy Badger to block any site that looks like a CDN

    • yousir 7 days ago

      > you can set "Document user activation" in chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy & relaunch.

      That won't fix the problem of auto-playing video on CNN or other sites that are not YT. Trying to read news from CNN is still a matter of waiting for the page to load, then wait for the video to load and start playing, then click on the pause button, and voila you can read in peace.

  • _arvin 7 days ago

    Chrome has that also.

    Go to chrome://flags, search for Autoplay policy, and select Document user action is required.

    Note that if you use the Imagus extension, this could block some videos/gifs/etc from playing when you hover over a link.

    • troydavis 7 days ago

      Alas, this flag only prevents video that has sound from auto-playing. It’s the inadequate option that my earlier comment was referring to.

      Here’s more: https://www.chromium.org/audio-video/autoplay

      https://developers.google.com/web/updates/2017/09/autoplay-p...

      Quoting the blog post, Google’s decision that ”Muted autoplay is always allowed” is the problem. If any other Chrome users wondered why videos now auto-play without sound (even with this option set), at least based on the relatively minimal docs about this flag, this is why.

    • driverdan 7 days ago

      It doesn't always work. I have that flag enabled and still encounter videos that autoplay.

      • rowyourboat 7 days ago

        Note that Firefox' autoplay blocker breaks some video sites because the Javascript assumes the video is playing when it really isn't. However, with Firefox, videos never autoplay. Chrome's autoplay does not always work, but it doesn't seem to break sites.

        I can't seem to find the issue, but in the Safari issue tracker, the point was made that given the way HTML5 video and APIs work, it is impossible to reliably prevent autoplay without breaking some sites. It seems that Firefox went for "reliably prevent autoplay" while Chrome went for "without breaking sites".

        FWIW, I switched from Chrome to Firefox because of the autoplay issue.

kodablah 7 days ago

Ug, I've been railing against this for a bit now. For anyone who is unclear what is happening, Chrome downloads a set of partial hashes for sites that are considered bad by this coalition. They don't provide the full list of sites (evil). Then if the site matches it, it phones home to get the full hash to see if it matches that. If it does, it applies the EasyList (non-cosmetic) ad block rules.

Problems:

* The list is totally opaque (I am wrong, see EDIT 2 below)

* They use the hard work of people like EasyList and subjectively apply it (though not that big of a deal, they do make it free/open for all uses after all)

* They build it into the browser instead of as an extension or working with the existing ad-block community

I urge everyone to keep with uBO and the like. How anyone can be for NN and then think a coalition can be an on-by-default gatekeeper of good or bad web items I'll never understand. At this point, I have a hard time separating browser from ISP wrt end user control and limited choice (especially for the masses who aren't familiar w/ these kinds of details).

EDIT: I should note that this is the same mechanism by which the safe browsing lists work that tell you a page may be bad. For consistency, I disagree with that too of course, but I find the motives and targets here to be much more sinister. I would also say switch to FF, but they also use the secret safe browsing lists, so they'll probably switch to this as well. I say find a Chromium/Gecko based browser w/ all the ancillary shit like this removed.

EDIT 2: There is a method of obtaining the entire list via the API, see comments below. I was wrong about the opacity and stand corrected. Still doesn't alleviate the concerns around gatekeeping. I wonder if Google would let me keep a running update of this list in GitHub so we can all watch changes and other things like adblockers could use it.

  • redm 7 days ago

    My problem is that Google was a founder of Better Ads and its designed to 1) protect their ad business, 2) stop people from wanting ad blockers, and 3) make the web nicer. Huge emphasis on #1.

    Whenever you have the browser maker, and punitive actions controlled by the same party, and arbitrarily, its a recipe for disaster.

    If Google really cared, they should spin Chrome off to a foundation, provide it a large amount of funding, and totally step aside.

    Having the #1 web browser and the largest ad network, controlled by Google, even if you agree with what they are doing, is a recipe for disaster.

    Google, of course, MUST protect its ad business, let's call his what it is.

    • Yhippa 7 days ago

      > Whenever you have the browser maker, and punitive actions controlled by the same party, and arbitrarily, its a recipe for disaster.

      Judge, jury, and executioner as they say.

    • eli 7 days ago

      So because of who they are Google should not be allowed to attempt to improve the quality of ads on the internet?

      Why would Chrome being run a foundation that is funded overwhelmingly by Alphabet make a difference? Chromium is already public -- aren't there already forks that focus on privacy and ad blocking?

      • manigandham 7 days ago

        Google owns the DoubleClick platform - the largest ad server with the most sites and running the biggest ad exchange in the world. They approve, serve, and support all of the intrusive ad formats in the first place, even on their own websites.

        This is absolutely not about quality but a political move to counteract ad blocking extensions and companies. While the intent seems noble, it's likely to cause no real improvements compared to better existing options like not serving these formats at all.

        • euyyn 7 days ago

          As long as websites display annoying ads, people will have the incentive to use ad-blockers, no matter how polished and non-intrusive DoubleClick ads be.

        • majani 7 days ago

          I don't think DFP is the biggest culprit of annoying ads. If they were,Google would definitely have taken the less controversial option of imposing stringent rules around DFP creatives. The biggest culprits are the up and coming ad networks that try to differentiate themselves and deliver big numbers for clients by providing super high impact ads.

        • aj7 7 days ago

          That may be so. But it is also illegal to piss at the end of the platform in the NYC subway.

      • maxxxxx 7 days ago

        You don't see a massive conflict of interest here?

        • eli 7 days ago

          Sure, I just don't see why that should be disqualifying. If they are too shy about blocking ads, then most users will not even perceive that this feature exists and the status quo is unchanged. If they block even a handful of the worst offenders, it's a win for Chrome users. And if those blocks encourage people to clean up their act then it's a win for everyone.

        • aj7 7 days ago

          There isn’t an INTRINSIC conflict of interest. The ideal is fewer, more expensive ads with higher conversion rates. Is there a stable operating point, though?

    • ocdtrekkie 6 days ago

      In order to actually protect Chrome from Google influence, it would need to switch to the Firefox model: Selling default search to the highest bidder. It might, then, still be Google. But other search engines could bid for their share, and it would prevent Google from lowballing their funding.

      (Also, imagine the hilarity if the default search of Chrome ever became Bing.)

  • Ajedi32 7 days ago

    > The list is totally opaque (I am wrong, see EDIT 2 below)

    As you noted, this is false. See https://developers.google.com/ad-experience-report/

    > They use the hard work of people like EasyList and subjectively apply it (though not that big of a deal, they do make it free/open for all uses after all)

    Again, I don't see the problem here. As you said, EasyList is free and open. It seems like your objection is just that you don't like the way its being used?

    > They build it into the browser instead of as an extension or working with the existing ad-block community

    I'd actually consider this a huge win. Everyone gets it by default (though you can turn it off in settings if you want), and it works on mobile, which doesn't currently allow extensions. What's your actual concern here?

    > think a coalition can be an on-by-default gatekeeper of good or bad web items I'll never understand. At this point, I have a hard time separating browser from ISP wrt end user control and limited choice

    There's a reason browsers are called the "user agent"; it's because their purpose is to make decisions and perform actions on behalf of the user. If a browser vendor wants to block ads on behalf of the user on sites which they deem to be using those ads in an abusive manner (and the standards for what is considered "abusive" in this case are actually pretty clear-cut: https://www.betterads.org/standards/) I don't see a problem with that. If you as a user don't want your user agent behaving that way, you can either tell it to stop (chrome://settings/content) or get yourself a new user agent. (And both of those actions are significantly easier than they are with your ISP I might add.)

    • kodablah 7 days ago

      > Again, I don't see the problem here. As you said, EasyList is free and open. It seems like your objection is just that you don't like the way its being used?

      Not really my objection, I just wonder if it's the objection of the people putting in the work on those lists. I personally don't think it's a big issue.

      > I'd actually consider this a huge win. Everyone gets it by default (though you can turn it off in settings if you want), and it works on mobile, which doesn't currently allow extensions. What's your actual concern here?

      A bigger win would be to allow mobile extensions. It's strange to use a decision Google makes as a reason Google has to do something this way instead, ha. That it's on by default makes those of us on the non-user side of the web wary of the slippery slope of browsers not being neutral about what is shown to our users.

      > I don't see a problem with that. If you as a user don't want your user agent behaving that way, you can either tell it to stop (chrome://settings/content) or get yourself a new user agent.

      I'm more concerned with the site developer side than the user side. If something ships to millions of users and begins to exercise non-neutral control over content, you should become concerned. It's like TVs constantly updating a list of shows they won't allow to be shown on their TV. You might tell a user to go change the settings of the TV, but as a someone making the video, would you not be concerned? Or glasses that limit some of what you get to see by default, or headphones that disable some of what you get to hear by default, or cars that don't allow you to enter some areas by default, etc. I hope it's clear that conduits like these need to remain neutral.

      • Ajedi32 7 days ago

        Okay, yeah. Looking at it from a site developer's perspective I can see where you're coming from. In fact, I'm certain that many sites which do display Annoying Ads[1] are going to be pretty ticked off by this move.

        However, I think the type of "content" Chrome is discriminating against here is pretty far removed from what most users would consider "content". They're not basing the decision on whether to block ads on a news site on the _content_ of its articles, but on the placement of its ads.

        To the extent that ads can be considered "content" then yeah, Google's not being content-neutral here, but while site owners might consider ads to be "content", I suspect most users don't.

        It's a pretty similar situation with Google's Safe Browsing system. While a malicious site operator might consider malware to be "content", malware is almost certainly not the sort of content the user came to the site for.

        [1]: https://www.betterads.org/standards/

        • euyyn 6 days ago

          An analogy is TV channels being regulated about the amount of time they are allowed to show ads.

  • cfitz 7 days ago

    While I would also personally prefer this functionality as an extension rather than as "bloatware" (although it's not exactly useless), I believe having it built-in will better the majority of Chrome users who are not savvy (or aware) enough to install extensions, which as of Dec 2010 was only 1/3 of Chrome users (the most recent stats from Chromium I can find) [1].

    [1] https://blog.chromium.org/2010/12/year-of-extensions.html

    • kodablah 7 days ago

      Unlike some others, I don't doubt the good intentions this road is paved with. But to keep with the NN analogy, less savvy users would also prefer paying for a cheaper, more restricted internet.

  • drawnwren 7 days ago

    For anyone curious why Google chose to implement it this way, it's because they're using a bloom filter for the first check. This is much more space efficient than storing the entire list in memory.

  • SquareWheel 7 days ago

    >secret safe browsing lists

    Isn't there an open API for querying this information, as well as their webapp? It can't be all that secret.

    https://transparencyreport.google.com/safe-browsing/search

    • joering2 7 days ago

      If you want to see how flagged site info looks like, use this link: http://livetvcafe.net/video/7RDR4DAYSBMO/Fox-News

      Unfortunately.. I don't see a dispute button. If Google won't let you dispute like blacklisted mailserver, I see class action lawsuits because ultimately with such high % of market share, Google and his pal Chrome will decide whether your business thrives or dies.

    • kodablah 7 days ago

      Only one site at a time. I want to see them all. Other ad blockers let me do this with their lists. Google is no stranger to supporting big list downloads. They are choosing not to and should not be defended. Sure they can say they don't want the offenders to know they are offending, but they can find that out anyways. I think in reality, they want to maintain the keys to the lists which means not giving it away and keeping it secret.

      • SquareWheel 7 days ago

        That's assuming that it's a simple process to publish a huge list. Keep in mind that Safe Browsing is much more complex than an adblock list. They allow actions from site owners via Search Console, and track many types of threats (phishing sites, malicious downloads).

        My guess would be there isn't a simple canonical list, and it's more of a heuristic evaluation where certain thresholds will trigger site warnings.

        In this case an API would be more up-to-date, and less computationally expensive than serving large, always-changing lists. It was likely just the more logical choice. Though I'm assuming the new ads functionality uses the same Safe Browsing infrastructure.

        >Sure they can say they don't want the offenders to know they are offending

        Actually not the case at all. They send alerts to sites that are affected by Safe Browsing via Search Console.

        • ksk 7 days ago

          >That's assuming that it's a simple process to publish a huge list.

          >In this case an API would be more up-to-date, and less computationally expensive than serving large, always-changing lists.

          Like Google search?

          I fail to see whats hard about returning a large list of items. Its their entire organizations' core competency.

        • kodablah 7 days ago

          All true. And I have found a place to obtain the list (see other comments). I do think the list as it relates to how the browser uses it is not that complex (is or isn't an "unsafe" or "bad ads" site).

        • hueving 7 days ago

          >That's assuming that it's a simple process to publish a huge list.

          Oh please. Claiming Google can't publish a giant list is really disingenuous. The question is really if they want to or not.

  • cptskippy 7 days ago

    > I should note that this is the same mechanism by which the safe browsing lists work that tell you a page may be bad. For consistency, I disagree with that too of course, but I find the motives and targets here to be much more sinister.

    Out of curiosity what is your objection to the Safe Browsing lists?

    I personally have my router blocking sites at the IP level and DNS rejecting queries for domains off this list.

    I can't remember the last time I couldn't visit a site because it was on the list but with the prevalence of zero-day malware and naive users on my network, I'd rather just not even deal with the potential.

    • kodablah 7 days ago

      > Out of curiosity what is your objection to the Safe Browsing lists?

      The gatekeeping and phoning home (even though it is privacy conscious). But it's not a strong objection. In general I prefer browsers to be neutral by default and make no HTTP requests behind the scenes, but I acknowledge that's unreasonable for most users. It's less about my personal objection and more about an objection to on-by-default corporate decision making being deployed to millions of users.

      While safe browsing hasn't come under much scrutiny due to its limited scope and that it hasn't been abused, I suspect it won't be long before someone's site has its ads blocked unfairly by the coalition. I understand with human review and pending-vs-actual-blockage incubation they are attempting to alleviate false positives, but the internet is too large IMO and the rules are subjective (so I can have a site with a 29% ad density?).

  • coliveira 7 days ago

    This seems like asking the fox to guard the chickens.

    • dclowd9901 7 days ago

      Right now, per your metaphor, all the chickens are being eaten. It's a clusterfuck out there with some of these ads. But I also don't want to go the opposite way and (to extend the metaphor) have a fox so vicious, it keeps _myself_ away from the chickens (a la AdBlock extensions), such that my favorite websites go away because I'm not supporting their revenue stream.

      Google does not have an interest in showing you shitty ads. They have an interest in providing their clients with ads that are acted upon and that web users appreciate, and they have an interest in having a browser that does that with as little friction as possible.

      I'd say their incentives are perfectly aligned with ours.

      • hueving 7 days ago

        >I'd say their incentives are perfectly aligned with ours

        Speak for yourself. I hate advertising and would rather see that whole revenue method burn to the ground and pay the $2/mo or whatever to use my favorite services.

        Ads have ruined everything they have touched (radio, satellite radio, TV, cable TV, satellite TV, magazines, highway scenery, etc) and they are well into the process of ruining the internet.

        In addition to bloating every site and exposing you to higher malware risk, they encourage companies to violate your privacy as much as possible and exploit psychological weaknesses to get you to buy stuff you didn't want or need to begin with.

        Google's incentives are to spread this poison so they are not aligned with mine at all.

        • davidcbc 7 days ago

          Be careful what you wish for, your favorite services might not exist without advertising. Sure, you might be willing to pay for the service, but would enough people be willing to pay to keep the service afloat? Probably not in a large number of cases. Advertising is the necessary evil that keeps the internet afloat.

      • stordoff 7 days ago

        Right now, all of the chickens are being eaten. If we get a fox that only occasionally eats a chicken, but keeps the other more vicious foxes away, that's a net win.

      • freehunter 7 days ago

        They have an interest in showing you non-shitty ads. They sell non-shitty ads. Therefore they have an interest in showing you their ads.

        They also own the most popular way those ads are shown: through their web browser. This browser has the ability (at Google's sole discretion) to block shitty ads, of which all of them are run by their direct competitors.

        So what's happening is, Google is giving themselves the right to block parts of the Internet they don't like, with the implied statement of "if you want your ads to be seen by Chrome users, buy them from us or else we might block them".

        That is a classic protection racket. "Want your ads to be seen? Better buy them from us, or... bad things will happen."

  • r3bl 7 days ago

    > I would also say switch to FF, but they also use the secret safe browsing lists, so they'll probably switch to this as well.

    They use this by default, but you're free to turn it off, and that setting (unlike others) seems to sync just fine using Firefox Sync. Just checked and it's off. I turned it off once years ago and switched between OSs and different devices in the meantime, and it's still off.

    Don't know if the same is possible on Chrome.

    > I should note that this is the same mechanism by which the safe browsing lists work that tell you a page may be bad. For consistency, I disagree with that too of course, but I find the motives and targets here to be much more sinister.

    I agree with you completely on this one.

    I had to turn that off on two layers, on a browser level, and inside my antivirus' firewall. My antivirus now constantly complains that I'm "not fully protected" because I don't want it to do web filtering for me.

    I do support other private browsing techniques that stay on my device, like first party isolation, and adblock-like lists that are downloaded on my device.

    Both are available in Firefox, and using them doesn't collide with my stance on NN, since I'm the one preventing the content from being fetched by my machines.

  • quadrature 7 days ago

    Do you have a source for this?, not disputing you, just want to read up on this.

    • kodablah 7 days ago

      Not really, just based on the blog post and comments at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16297550 and elsewhere where myself and others looked at the code. I could be wrong on some aspects of course and would welcome being corrected.

      Also, I cannot find a clear explanation from Google how the internal details of this ad blocker work (how they manage the hashes on their side, where this coalition list is maintained, etc). I would love a link, but alas with these kinds of things transparency is usually the first thing to go, especially since people don't demand it.

  • reaperducer 7 days ago

    We all know that having Google as gatekeeper has never pushed innocent, content-heavy, legitimate web sites into oblivion before.

    Oh, wait...

    • lev99 7 days ago

      Am I missing an obvious example?

      • forgotpw2019 7 days ago

        I'm not sure if you're a Google PR drone or just naive, but people have been talking about this for years...

        Ya know the nice little extensions Google has added over the years to their search page? Like speed test, recipes, dictionary, a rudimentary calculator, map locations, etc??

        Most of the information is stuff they stole from other websites. They put it in the search results now so you won't go to those terrible websites yourself and stop looking at Google ads. And nobody can stop it because if you block Google spiders your website dies.

        So the only people that can fight Google stealing all their shit are other Titans like Facebook and LinkedIn. Everyone else is getting their content lifted and moved into search results.

        It's so pervasive that I'm not even going to bother to find you links. Ironically, you can just Google something like "Google destroyed my business" and find plenty of results. Google does a lot of things I support but they also destroy businesses intentionally with reckless abandon. For instance, I find it impossible to believe Google didn't think it would destroy Speedtest.com when it added a widget to the search page. Or Allrecipes when they started stealing their content and ploping it on the search page.

        Some of the things Google does these days are thinly veiled as being for "convenience" or "security" when they're really just a monopoly stomping out various competitors.

        Remember how Google used to punish "cloaking"? Well now they quietly allow you to do whatever the hell you want which led to all the news site paywalls. These sites we're tired of Google stealing all their shit and powerful enough as a group to stand up to it. Google sits on it's hands because they know if they stop it they will end up in court, probably for antitrust

        • jankeymeulen 7 days ago

          > I'm not sure if you're a Google PR drone or just naive, but people have been talking about this for years...

          Do you really believe Google has PR people that are paid to reply on posts on HN? It could be, but I find this quite incredible.

          (Saying this as an Eng Googler, I have absolutely no insight on how the whole "business" side of the organisation works.)

  • xori 7 days ago

    On desktop, I agree with you. But I hope they do this for mobile, browsing on android is a dangerous place on ad-ridden websites.

    • JoshMnem 7 days ago

      Download Firefox for Android. It's the only mobile browser I know of that lets you install extensions.

panarky 7 days ago

"It’s important to note that some sites affected by this change may also contain Google ads.

To us, your experience on the web is a higher priority than the money that these annoying ads may generate — even for us."

Many of us are wired to see changes like this as a power grab camouflaged with flowery words, or possibly another step on the slippery slope to censorship and government control.

We've been trained that every corporate action is selfish, by definition against our interests.

But Google has demonstrated over the years that they're willing to sacrifice their short-term gains to maximize their long-term gains.

Since their long-term gains depend on a vibrant, open web, sometimes their long-term selfish actions are actually in our interest, too.

  • oehpr 7 days ago

    Well you're looking at this in a very saccharine light. Have you been following the discussion leading up to this? There have been very pointed questions about how truly independent the coalition for better ads is. There's questions about and advertising company blocking advertisements from other companies. There's questions about the layer of the browser this was added to. There's questions about even what the better ads coalition purports to do!

    Can the coalition truly be independent when their only active enforcer is a member? Would that coalition defy that one member ever?

    Under what circumstances will other sites and advertisers learn of updates to ads? Will that policy remain? Will google always have a head start?

    What of ads and scripts designed to track and de-anonymize you? What of ads that consume huge amounts of bandwidth passively while not otherwise being annoying? These policies seem directed only at the aesthetic of the web.

    And really, it remains to be seen if our long term interests are in line with googles, if you asked me, I'd very much say no.

  • ksk 7 days ago

    >To us, your experience on the web is a higher priority than the money that these annoying ads may generate — even for us."

    That's begs the question - Why were those ads approved by Google in the first place? They were the source of the problem to begin with !! Also, before we rush to judgement, how much revenue were those ads generating for Google in the first place? I would respect them a bit more if they actually are taking a hit on this.

    >But Google has demonstrated over the years that they're willing to sacrifice their short-term gains to maximize their long-term gains.

    How have they demonstrated that? Could you elaborate?

    • panarky 7 days ago

      >> But Google has demonstrated over the years that they're willing to sacrifice their short-term gains to maximize their long-term gains.

      > How have they demonstrated that? Could you elaborate?

      Before Google, web search results were rotten. Advertisers could push their sites onto the front page, and paid ads were indistinguishable from organic results.

      Google's innovation was to deliver pure search results with the highest relevance, with zero influence from advertisers. Ads were separate and labeled as such.

      By sacrificing near-term ad revenue, Google built trust with users, and won search in the long-term.

      Other examples:

      Google could have kept Android closed and charged for licenses. But by open-sourcing it and allowing competitors to use it, they sacrificed short-term license revenue to build a much larger ecosystem.

      Google capitulated to government demands that they censor search results in China. But then they reversed course, exited mainland China, and sacrificed revenue from that massive market. Long-term, active censorship would damage Google's reputation.

      • goatsi 6 days ago

        >Advertisers could push their sites onto the front page, and paid ads were indistinguishable from organic results.

        >Google's innovation was to deliver pure search results with the highest relevance, with zero influence from advertisers. Ads were separate and labeled as such.

        Have you tried using Google without an adblocker recently?

        If I search "buy a car" using Chrome on Android the entire screen of my phone is filled with ads that I need to scroll past to get to the "pure" search results. The only indication that they are ads is a tiny box 1/8 the size of a fingernail. The top result on the embedded Google maps box is also an ad.

        • panarky 6 days ago

          You might want to get your phone checked for malware.

          I search with Chrome on Android every day, with no ad blockers, and this never happens.

    • aembleton 7 days ago

      They might not be Google ads.

      A webpage can have both Google ads and dodgy-ad-co ads. If they have the dodgy-ad-co ads then Google will apply the easylist to the page, which will remove the Google ads as well as the dodgy ones.

    • Ajedi32 7 days ago

      Most of the better ads standards have more to do with ad placement than with the ads themselves. It's not particularly easy for Google to reliably detect whether their ads are embedded in a pop-up, for example: https://www.betterads.org/desktop-pop-up-ad/

  • bzbarsky 7 days ago

    > Since their long-term gains depend on a vibrant, open web

    Does it? This is not at all obvious to me. Do you mind sharing your reasoning for this claim?

  • hartator 7 days ago

    > To us, your experience on the web is a higher priority than the money that these annoying ads may generate — even for us.

    To the point of not receiving salaries? I’ve little sympathy here.

    • lallysingh 7 days ago

      Why is that the threshold?

      Edit: autocorrect fixes

  • 6d6b73 7 days ago

    All they want to do is to squash most of the competition . In a long term all of the small players in the ad industry will not survive if they have to fight with ad blocking software AND google.

    • simias 7 days ago

      I suspect that they're more afraid of ad blockers than the competition, although I could be wrong. If users are annoyed by intrusive ads they're more likely to install an ad blocker. If they do that they're likely to block google's less-intrusive ads as well.

      • 6d6b73 7 days ago

        Probably 90% of users don't have any idea what an ad blocker is..

        • saagarjha 7 days ago

          This may have been true a couple years ago, but I don't think it's true anymore. The majority of people are annoyed by ads, and all it takes is one friend to tell them to "install this to not see ads" or a nephew to come over for them to have access to an ad blocker. I'd estimate this percentage as closer to 50%.

        • mulmen 7 days ago

          76.3% of statistics are made up on the spot.

    • notatoad 7 days ago

      As long as google is fighting to make the internet better, and the competition is actively trying to make it worse, I'm okay with the competition being squashed.

  • tripzilch 5 days ago

    I think you forgot the "/s". Kudos on keeping a straight face after the initial quote, though.

    But seriously, this line:

    > To us, your experience on the web is a higher priority than the money that these annoying ads may generate — even for us."

    Is a flat out lie and you should know better by now.

    Unless the "us" speaking here is a very specific (and powerless) subset of whoever could be speaking for Google. Which would make it merely disingenuous.

    And even then their actions require a lot more before they deserve that kind of trust again.

    > We've been trained that every corporate action is selfish, by definition against our interests.

    If we had been trained we might've gotten to this conclusion sooner and prevent some of the worse shit that's happened because of it. But we weren't trained (what would have trained us?).

    I'd rather say we've been extremely slow to recognize that even though the law recognizes corporations as persons (in some places), they are in fact, inhuman. And they will continue to act with complete disregard to human interests. I think it's still useful to think of corporations as organisms, just not of our species, in the same way that a fungus is not the same species as its substrate.

    Some people "at the top" believe they are in control, but they are in control as much as you can be in control sitting on top of a wild, untamed beast. And you've seen it, corporations replace "the top people" like any other employee and it doesn't change much. Not nearly as much as they want you to think. It's more like trimming your fingernails than getting a heart transplant.

    Of course, nation states are just the same. Conglomerate hierarchies of humans, doing whatever to stay in existence as a sort of entity. Problem was they were caged by design, rules, from the bottom up. This was because we needed them to be, we saw tyrannies rising when we didn't. So we made rules to bind them, deliberately stunted like bonsai trees, to preserve our individual freedom and not become cogs or ants. So they subverted the meaning of "freedom", because we should be free to make new corporations (conglomerate hierarchies, egregores, group minds, call them however you like), because you know, freedom! Except this exploit existed even within the nation states that were deliberately stunted to not grow out of control. Just don't feed them after midnight, okay?

    And then we were free to create corporations, without stunts, or rules or restrictions to preserve actual real individual human freedom.

    And of course these new corporations quickly grew to become more powerful than many nation states. REALLY quickly, if you think about it, if you compare it to the speed at which nation states exchange power and conquer one another. But corporations kill at sub-decade frequency currently.

    I went a bit off a tangent here sorry, and I doubt this is the proper forum to share this kind of thing either. But just stop and think for a moment, who or what is writing those words you just quoted. It's not something that could ever be your "friend".

  • OnlyRepliesToBS 7 days ago

    I have a famous bridge to sell you. Cheap too.

jakobegger 7 days ago

This sounds like a win/win policy.

1) Users that tolerate some ads no longer need to install an adblocker.

2) Legit advertisers don't get their ads blocked because fewer people use ad blockers

3) Crappy advertisers go out of business.

Now lets hope that GDPR manages to get rid of the ubiquitous tracking and the web might actually become a nicer place again!

  • larrik 7 days ago

    Of course, ads with exploits and malware that inject into your computer can be invisible and hard to detect as "intrusive", which this doesn't seem to recognize or handle. I'll stick with ad-block.

    • eli 7 days ago

      This justification always reminds me of the advice to run SSH on a non-standard port.

      Sure, I guess that makes you less of a target for bad actors, but if your browser can be compromised by simply visiting a website, that's a serious problem that's going to bite you whether you block ads or not.

      • SAI_Peregrinus 6 days ago

        It's much closer to the advice to run antivirus, use a firewall, and apply updates. Exploits are discovered, but there are often mitigations available before fixes come around. By applying the mitigations (AV, firewall, adblock) you can prevent at least some of the exploits until fixes (browser updates) are released.

      • kakarot 7 days ago

        What are you talking about?

        You're saying that theoretically, because there may be worse exploits from advanced actors that can target you for visiting a website, you shouldn't worry about basic security and whitelisting?

        Do you not lock your door at night, either, just because someone could smash through your windows?

        • BenjiWiebe 7 days ago

          The SSH on a nonstandard port thing... I do it so I know if I see a failed login attempt, it's someone who is trying a lot harder than the average attacker and something I should investigate more fully.

        • eli 6 days ago

          Are there stats on how malware spreads? I suspect hacked websites & spam email are a more common source of infection than ad networks. It's not theoretical nor does it imply an advanced actor.

  • tmorton 7 days ago

    Users lose because "legit" advertising is still toxic. Want some low-tar cigarettes?

kretor 7 days ago

It's important to note that the "flagging" is not done by users, but by Google themselves. And they do this based on the Better Ads Standards. After the initial flagging, the site owners are notified, and have 30 days to fix it, until the ads on the site are blocked. They then of course can still fix it, and get the ads unblocked.

YCode 7 days ago

I wonder if I can hire a botnet to flag my competition out of business.

  • TeMPOraL 7 days ago

    I'll one-up you: can we crowdfund a botnet to flag all ads, from everyone?

    • kodablah 7 days ago

      You jest, but the the goal of this "coalition" is to do good enough to not make you want to do that. Of course, the human review built in would preclude most of the large botnet attempts. An analogy:

      Bittorrent:Netflix::uBlock-Origin:Coalition-for-better-ads

  • newscracker 7 days ago

    This is exactly what came to my mind when I saw the headline. I'm sure this will happen, and a new arms race will ensue. Users are better off with uBlock Origin and such, instead of relying on advertising companies to handle ads better.

  • pavel_lishin 7 days ago

    You could always hire one to drive up their fraudulent clicks, so I don't see why not.

  • Cthulhu_ 7 days ago

    You could, but if found out you'd probably be put to trial and your own business would be destroyed.

twhb 7 days ago

Let’s talk about “acceptable ads”. Do you think they exist?

I don’t. I avoid ads for two reasons: first that they’re fundamentally biased, manipulative information sources, second that they drain attention, screen space, battery life, etc. I’m much more worried about the first than the second, yet “acceptable ads” (partially) addresses the second without touching the first.

  • acdha 7 days ago

    > I avoid ads for two reasons: first that they’re fundamentally biased, manipulative information sources, second that they drain attention, screen space, battery life, etc.

    Neither of these points need to be true. Consider if someone had a text ad which said “We made widgets. Click here to see our widgets”. There's nothing manipulative about that, it need not use more than a small amount of network or CPU to deliver, and all but the most extreme members of the no logo camp would tend to agree that there's nothing manipulative about it.

    • twhb 7 days ago

      Are you saying this as somebody who advertises, or who views ads?

      • acdha 6 days ago

        As someone who doesn't like broad, sweeping statements which are incorrect.

        For the record, I don't buy ads and I subscribe to sites like ArsTechnica.com which allow me to pay to disable ads.

        • twhb 6 days ago

          I don't believe it's incorrect, but thanks for letting me know you do. Genuinely - like I said, I just want to talk about “acceptable ads”.

  • dragonwriter 7 days ago

    > I avoid ads for two reasons: first that they’re fundamentally biased, manipulative information sources

    Humans are fundamentally biased, manipulative information sources.

    (Overt, not organic or otherwise covert) ads are just human acts where the bias and intended manipulation are unusually transparent.

    • twhb 7 days ago

      Do you mean that it’s more reliable to discern the truth from ads than when the bias isn’t clear? Isn’t it even more reliable when interests are aligned, for example in the use of turn signals?

      • dragonwriter 7 days ago

        > Do you mean that it’s more reliable to discern the truth from ads than when the bias isn’t clear?

        No, I think that it's easier to reject (overt) ads manipulation because their bias is clear, compared to forms of manipulation where the goal of the manipulation is less clear; this doesn't help you get to the truth (except in some cases where that is revealed by what even the ad is forced to admit against its interest, or hinted at by what it avoids) from the ad content itself.

  • pq0ak2nnd 7 days ago

    I would say for free services, I'm ok with ads (like metafilter)... but for free sites that collect our every click and keystroke and sell it for gobs of money to marketing megacorops, they should be paying us!

  • shaki-dora 6 days ago

    I don't know how you can argue against all ads, no exception, without at least somehow addressing the problem of content currently financed by ads.

    Journalism provides a necessary service for a democracy, and unpaid bloggers haven't actually made much of a dent into real, investigative journalism. Hell, they haven't even made a dent into regular ask-questions-at-press-conferences journalism.

    Which leaves paywalls. But even if I everyone bought subscriptions to the top 5 or so publications they read regularly, we would all drastically reduce the variety of sources we get our news from. No fan of Breitbart is going to pay for the New York Times, even though now, they might (sometimes accidentally) come across an article offering them a glimpse of real journalism.

    It's really easy to try: Just for a month or so, don't visit any sites showing advertisement that you haven't paid for.

mancerayder 7 days ago

Does this include something that flashes / moves (within its self-contained box) even though it doesn't take over the screen?

How is it that it's not outrageous to people that in the middle of a news article, a box with flashing colors and a picture of a woman in a bikini isn't something obviously extremely undesirable? The activity of reading requires concentration, if you're reading something that requires thought, that is. I'm baffled that our tolerance level for this didn't drop to the pitchfork level.

olegkikin 7 days ago

I feel like they will get sued for that extremely quickly, considering their dominating position (Chrome) and being in the ad-serving business at the same time.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5a/Br...

  • azernik 7 days ago

    Generally American and European anti-trust law as currently interpreted only cares about harm to the consumer.

    • chopin 7 days ago

      At least in Europe Google has been successfully sued by competitors.

    • i_cant_speel 7 days ago

      Less competition is generally harmful to the consumer.

      • avs733 7 days ago

        conceptually. However, the metric we use to dictacte that conceptual argument is what screws us (Americans). We have chosen increase in price as the primary metric.

        It becomes the responsibility of the accuser to prove and provide evidence of increased prices based on monopoly position. The Exponent podcast did a nice description of this last summer I believe (not sure what episode).

  • xstartup 7 days ago

    This kind of move is unlikely, nearly no one is running "legit" ad business. No one would like to to be under a microscope either.

  • mtgx 7 days ago

    Technically the advertising industry is behind this move. Whether or not that will hold in court, it remains to be seen.

criley2 6 days ago

I would like to take a second off topic and point out that the design of their blog^1 is really atrocious for a number of reasons

- Massive, truly gargantuan header and footer that steals 40-50% of usable screen space for.... white space

- Terrible type selection that is kerned too closely and is too thin to comfortably read on a white background. Eye strain is SIGNIFICANT.

Like, come the heck on Google. You're trying to make the internet a better place. Maybe practice what you preach and follow Day 1, 101 course UX principles like "choose a type that is legible" and "don't use half of your article vertical space for pointless globs of white space in your header and footer"

1: https://i.imgur.com/0mJjdMq.png

billysielu 7 days ago

How about allowing us to install Adblock on Chrome for Android?

  • Filligree 7 days ago

    I'd recommend installing Firefox instead. The default version is a little slow, but Firefox Quantum is fast.

    • jnordwick 7 days ago

      Firefox beta on Android is slow, but wrorst is if you use Google's search tools (like time range) Google sends Firefox a search results page without that ability or many other things (plus side, there's no amp).

      How about some browse neutrality from Google?

  • purell_hack 7 days ago

    This is why I started using Firefox on Android. I need uBlock to browse the web safely.

    • lima 7 days ago

      Same for me. The nightly build is much faster than the current stable too.

    • markdog12 7 days ago

      Brave is pretty cool too, based on Chromium.

  • mtgx 7 days ago

    It's a shame the EC hasn't looked into this as part of its antitrust investigation against Google. And I'm talking about Google not allowing ad-blockers in the Play Store, not about Chrome not having an adblock extension. That's just their decision not to have extensions on the mobile Chrome, and I can respect that, even though I know it sucks. However, it should be illegal for Google to block adblockers in the store, considering its Android monopoly in the EU.

pqwEfkvjs 7 days ago

Just use Firefox with Adblock/Ublock/Noscript. Even better, turn off Javascript and you'll never see an ad again.

Unfortunately, there are too many devs who build their sites that completely get crippled if you by default don't allow Javascript.

Even if you enable it, the site may still be doomed, because it tries to load fonts, libraries, css and who-knows-what kind of s* from external sites.

Fg newage apatheistic anarchist hippie devs. Don't bundle in tons of dependencies to your freaking sites. If one of the dependencies goes down, so does your site. F* you! And f* those whorebag ads!

apeace 7 days ago

I appreciate the step forward, but what I really want is for my browser to block:

* Battery-draining junk code

* Bandwidth-hogging videos and GIFs

* Spreading information about me cross-origin

I would take an annoying page-covering PNG that I can close, over a tiny banner doing animations in Javascript, an auto-play video, a huge GIF which is basically a video, or the countless trackers which build databases about every site I visit.

As such this change will not entice me to disable my ad blocker. Not even close.

  • lolsal 7 days ago

    Genuinely curious: How would you programmatically identify "battery-draining junk code"?

    Also, what is your threshold for 'bandwidth-hogging' videos and GIFs? Do you trust content-lengths from the server?

    • apeace 7 days ago

      I don't have a solution other than whitelisting or blacklisting, which is what I use the ad blockers for.

skywhopper 7 days ago

I found immediately ironic that I was reading a post about how Google values the user so much that they built Chrome, a browser that gets out of your way and gives more of your screen over to the websites you are viewing but the site where this article is posted covers half my screen with site-navigation chrome that is 80% whitespace and that pops in and out semi-unpredictably. Sigh.

aj7 7 days ago

If someone else said this already please forgive me. The worst ads are the one with a phony close X. You click it and you are driven to the webpage anyway. It seems to me you could test for this.

jrochkind1 7 days ago

When I'm trying to visit some page, and I get an unrelated spammy popover that is hard to get rid of... I've gathered cause I know how this stuff works that it's _probably_ from a misbehaving google ad, but I don't know how I'd identify that to flag it, or if I'd spend the time to do so. I usually just get out of there.

redm 7 days ago

It seems to me that it's irrelevant if you agree with Google's Ad Strategy or not. The problem is that Google gets to make the choices, they are now in a position to decide, via the proxy of Better Ads, whats allowed on the "Open Web". IMHO, this is just one more step in a less-open Internet.

herodotus 7 days ago

Be nice if Chrome offered, for a fee, a premium, ad-free experience, AND they shared the profits from that service with the visited web sites (in lieu of Ad placement revenue).

kevincennis 7 days ago

I know that title isn't 100% right, but (a) the one on the blog is pretty much useless and (b) a more correct title would've been too long. Open to suggestions.

  • kretor 7 days ago

    The title ("Chrome will stop displaying ads that are repeatedly flagged as disruptive") is wrong in a couple of ways.

    According to the post:

    "... Chrome will stop showing all ads on sites that repeatedly display these most disruptive ads after they’ve been flagged.

    To determine which ads not to show, we’re relying on the Better Ads Standards from the the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group dedicated to improving the experience of the ads we see on the web. ..."

    They are a bit vage in this post, but as we know from other posts and press briefings, this means:

    The site owners will get a notice when Google has found that their site is displaying ads not compliant with the Better Ads Standards. When they don't fix this until after 30 days, all ads on the site are blocked, even those complying with the standards. The site owners can then of course still fix it, and get removed from the block list.

    So the "flagging" is actually done by Google, and means the owners of the site get a notice.

  • moreless 7 days ago

    "Chrome will stop displaying ads on offending sites"?

  • halloij 7 days ago

    "Google will continue along the road of censorship and policing websites to further their path to complete web dominance and control."?

makecheck 7 days ago

We really, really don’t need Coalitions, Committees and other crap to tell us what ads are acceptable. This stuff is so straightforward that it’s mind-boggling we are still debating it:

1. Don’t be annoying: NO sound, NO video, NO auto-anything, NO flashy animation, NO obnoxious bright colors. What is so wrong with the discreet images and text that newspapers and magazines have used since forever?

2. Don’t disrespect me: NO treating my data plan as an infinite well for downloading crap, NO ad networks that can’t be bothered to have proper security, NO obscenely-complex tracking scripts, and NO trickery to make me click (pop-anything, delayed loading, etc.).

natch 6 days ago

How about if Google stops taking ads for malware like MacKeeper on YouTube? Speaking to Google: you guys are OK with promoting malware in exchange for money?

andybak 7 days ago

OK. Outbrain and Taboola are pretty disruptive to my sanity and peace of mind. I wonder if we can get them blocked.

theandrewbailey 7 days ago

> When we built Chrome, we wanted to create a way for people to interact with the magic that is the web, without the browser getting in the way. We created a browser that took up minimal space on your screen...

Only for websites clutter that free space with hideously large and empty headers and unmovable footers that cover a good 20% to 30% of vertical space that would be better spent on the actual content of the page. (If I want to navigate your site, give me link to your homepage, and I'll take it from there.) Oh, and lets not forget those social sharing icons, even for people who don't social network!

Let's rub salt into the wound:

> (These ads are) designed to be disruptive and often stand in the way of people using their browsers for their intended purpose—connecting them to content and information.

ibdf 7 days ago

Just take a look at this ad on the Verge (https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/5/16966530/intel-vaunt-smart...). It takes 90% of the screen, and they wonder why people use ad blockers.

Screenshot: https://ibb.co/f1eOGS

  • matt4077 7 days ago

    This is actually one the least annoying ad formats, at least in relation to size.

    You can simply scroll p and it’s gone. It’s also at the top of the page, not interrupting your reading.

    It’s far better than an overlay that requires you to close it by hitting a tiny x.

  • vog 7 days ago

    Do you have a screenshot? I don't feel like enabling JS for that site. Moreover, a screenshot would keep your argument understandable for readers who might encounter your comment in a year or later, when that site changed their layout or perhaps doesn't exist anymore.

wuliwong 7 days ago

I certainly like the idea of blocking these types of ads at first blush. I don't know much about the source of the "disruptive" label so that could be a bone of contention. I would assume there will be some UI element saying that Chrome blocked a "disruptive ad" similar to when it blocks popups but they didn't describe that in the post. Overall, I am optimistic.

Gargoyle 7 days ago

Yeah, hard to see how this could possibly go wrong.

Overtonwindow 7 days ago

So..if we all flag every ad as disruptive will Chrome stop displaying all ads?

  • kretor 7 days ago

    The "flagging" is done by Google, not users. And according to the post: "Chrome will stop showing all ads on sites that repeatedly display these most disruptive ads after they’ve been flagged."

tripzilch 5 days ago

Or users could, you know, use an extension to block all of them. For their own security and peace of mind.

throw7 7 days ago

There's no mention if you can disable this or opt out.

I'd rather them have a way for me to disable the floating videos usually on news sites.

  • Ajedi32 7 days ago

    You can disable it in content settings. It's a new permission, just like Notifications, JavaScript, and Sound. Basically you just have to turn on the "Allow sites to show Annoying Ads" permission.

  • unreal37 7 days ago

    You want intrusive ads to show?

joering2 7 days ago

In the near future article on HN frontpage: "large Chinese bot network to notify Google of dangerous site to hire".

You want your competitor site to be down, our 100,000 strong unique IP addresses bot network will take 2 weeks to notify Google of a harmful website. Just give us an URL of your competitor and wire us $10,000 and watch them being wiped out of the net! Guaranteed!

pq0ak2nnd 7 days ago

I use an ad blocker so I rarely see them. Does this mean my vote doesn't count?

bfrog 7 days ago

Would that include google ads? Because I personally find 99,% of ads to be disruptive

  • paulirwin 7 days ago

    From the article:

    "It’s important to note that some sites affected by this change may also contain Google ads. To us, your experience on the web is a higher priority than the money that these annoying ads may generate—even for us."

    • craftyguy 7 days ago

      For some reason I seriously doubt Google is going to take a hit on their #1 source of revenue so that users have a better 'experience'

      • eli 7 days ago

        People having a terrible experience with ads is what leads them to install an ad blocker, which is a much bigger risk to Google's ad business

    • ComputerGuru 7 days ago

      Except while with ad network x the network gets punished, with AdWords the specific advertiser does.

      • notatoad 7 days ago

        How so? In either case, google is blocking ads at a per-site level. They aren't treating their own network any differently.

markdog12 7 days ago

Any way to disable this? For instance if you're already using an adblocker.

Grue3 6 days ago

*) Google ads cannot be flagged as disruptive. Other conditions apply.

venomsnake 7 days ago

A browser's only job is to render, not to tamper with content.

_ao789 7 days ago

about time!

nukeop 7 days ago

All ads are disruptive, as they are designed to draw your attention. If you can ignore an ad it did not serve the purpose it was created for. Does it mean Chrome blocks all ads now? Don't hold your breath.

  • akkat 7 days ago

    One of the few exceptions that I can think of would be skymall. It is a magazine with only ads for overpriced useless stuff that you can read about (and maybe buy) while on a flight. I would normally read the entire magazine during the boring flight.

thrownaway954 7 days ago

kind of funny that they are doing it on Feb,15th... the day after Valentine's Day in the US.

  • saagarjha 7 days ago

    Why is the date relevant?

    • thrownaway954 4 days ago

      It's the day after Valentine's Day in the US... the most advertised, over-hyped, over-extended and shoved down your throat day of the year for us guys.

      • saagarjha 3 days ago

        Never experienced this, sorry

username223 7 days ago

"That's a nice website you have there. It would be a shame if you couldn't display ads."

How is this anything other than a hilariously transparent shake-down? An ad company that controls both ends of the ad pipeline (Chrome and Adsense) is "protecting" people not by blocking terrible ads, but by blocking all ads on sites it deems "disruptive."

  • mseebach 7 days ago

    A shakedown usually involves an opportunity to pay to avoid the consequences. At the very least, it certainly isn't "hilariously transparent".

    • ComputerGuru 7 days ago

      I presume the “pay opportunity” would be to use their own ad network. Yes, it is subject to the same rules. Officially.

    • bzbarsky 7 days ago

      You can totally pay to avoid the consequences. Just buy all your ads from Google, and you're guaranteed to not be violating their policies.

    • username223 7 days ago

      I assume Google's customer support staff can contact the owners of blacklisted sites and sell them more Adsense inventory, or encourage them to stop doing business with competing ad vendors.

      • 6d6b73 7 days ago

        "Google's customer support" - hehe, that's a good one..