Google has started blocking ad-blockers from the Play Store, reports Techcrunch. More specifically, the company will allow browsers that feature ad-blocking capabilities (like the Adblock browser), or browsers than enable this feature via extensions (like Firefox, Dolphin etc.), but will block adblocking extensions if distributed over the Play Store.
Samsung recently rolled out adblocking on its browser for Android devices that would allow third-party developers to to build apps for blocking ads. However, Adblock Fast, the top rated app for Samsung’s browser was pulled from the Play Store. Similarly, Crystal, another extension, was declined an update. In both cases Google cited that developers can’t release apps that interfere with “the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third-party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator.”
Interestingly, when Eyeo had firsts tested Adblock for mobile in 2012, Google had pulled the app from its store citing the same reason. The app is currently available as a direct download app for Android, and can disable ads across YouTube and Facebook as well. As a work around for the Play Store, the company offers an Adblock browser, which can only block ads on pages viewed using the browser.
Also read: On Ad Blockers and the impact on Media
MediaNama’s take: As we have said before, with the availability of adblocking browsers on both iOS and Android, there are large (not good) implications for publishers, given that almost all of content and apps require ads for monetisation. This is one way Google is trying to ensure that ad blocking apps cannot reach out across apps. If it allowed ad-blocking by apps on Samsung app now, it would find it hard to justify stopping these apps from starting to block ads on other apps.
This move makes sense for the company – it reported advertising revenue of $19.08 billion this quarter. It’s also great news for developers of Android apps knowing that the company will not officially endorse ad blocking on other apps. However, it’s bad news for users that want to block ads across apps. For this, they can either sideload ad blocking apps or use routers running Linux that offer code to block ads on their network.