Google Chrome to Start Blocking Non-Better Ads Conforming Adverts February 15, 2018

Google Chrome

After announcing in June of this year that Google Chrome would comply with the Coalition for Better Ads standards starting in 2018, we now have a date.  February 15, 2018.  That is the day that Chrome will begin blocking non-compliant adverts in the browser.

The effort and main objective of the Coalition for Better Ads it to create a less intrusive web experience for users while at the same time, being clear on what are deemed acceptable ads on sites.  Google signed up, and has a big influence, in the coalition with some questioning if it is anti-competitive behavior on the Mountain View company’s part.  They are, after all, the biggest ad platform out there and some feel that the entire Coalition will harm Google’s competitors more than anyone.

While that is to be seen, the Coalition has put out a guideline of what ads are considered problematic for both desktop and mobile browsing experiences.  It’s up to advertisers to comply with these standards are run the risk of their ads being blocked.  According to the Coalition:

The Program will maintain a register of certified companies that will not have ads on their sites filtered based on the Standards by browsers and advertising technology companies that participate in the Program. If compliance issues arise, certified companies will be notified and have an opportunity to address violations or to pursue review by an independent dispute resolution mechanism available through the Program.

If they continue to be out of compliance, blocking will happen and that is where the change to Google Chrome comes into the mix.  What are non-compliant ads?  Read on after the break…

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Google Chrome Now Available in the Windows Store

Chrome Browser for Windows

[Update 12/20/2017:  It has now been removed.  Microsoft states that the installer violates the store’s policies. ]

Big and somewhat surprising news this morning for Windows 10 users.  Google Chrome is now available for download in the Microsoft Windows Store.  It means that users can now install Chrome on their Windows 10 PCs (except Windows 10S users) without having to side-load it.  This is something that many administrators lock down for security reasons.

Essentially this new app, which is published by Google, is an installer which acts as a shell to go get the browser installed on your PC.  In other words, it is an official channel to go out to the web and download the browser as you would if you were side-loading.

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Chrome 59 Update for Android Brings Improved Page Loading Times

Google Chrome for Android

Just a few days after Chrome 59 was released for desktops, the latest update to Google’s browser is now starting to roll out for Android.  The update is version Chrome 59 (59.0.3071.92) for those keeping score at home and it has been released to the Play Store.  It should hit your devices over the course of the next several days via an OTA update.

While the release notes were limited, there are two improvements that are in this update.  First, overall loading of pages should be improved with this update.  Unfortunately, the Chromium team within Google didn’t quantify just how much faster the page loading happens.  It’s something that you will have to visually check and estimate yourself.

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Chrome 59 Released with Settings Now in Material Design

Chrome 59 Material Design Settings

The Chromium team within Google has released Chrome 59, the latest major build of the browser for Windows, MacOS and Linux.  The update is rolling out now and if you have Chrome installed, the update should come to you over the course of the next few days.  If you want to force the issue, just type chrome://help in the browser and it will automatically download the update immediately.

There are two big changes in this update along with the normal raft of bug and security fixes.  The first is the injection of more Material Design.  The Settings page within Chrome is now by default in Material Design.  The ability to turn on this feature manually in Chrome has been there since Chrome 57 but it has required a manual flag change deep within the settings of the browser.  Now it is on by default in Chrome 59.

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Opinion – As a Site Owner, I’m all in on Google Chrome Ad-Blocking

Google Chrome for Android

In a blog post yesterday, Google clearly and carefully outlined their plan for blocking overly aggressive adverts on the web.  At first blush, it would seem odd that Google, a company who primarily makes their money from adverts, would block ads.  Further, it would seem self serving as the types of adverts they want to block in Chrome, they themselves don’t serve up so only their ads would get through the blocker.  That’s not entirely true.

As a site owner who depends on adverts and as a consumer, I’m quite happy with this announcement and planned implementation in 2018.

The short of it is this:  In Google Chrome, starting in 2018, overly intrusive adverts are going to be blocked by the browser.  As Google described them, “it’s far too common that people encounter annoying, intrusive ads on the web–like the kind that blare music unexpectedly, or force you to wait 10 seconds before you can see the content on the page. These frustrating experiences can lead some people to block all ads–taking a big toll on the content creators, journalists, web developers and videographers who depend on ads to fund their content creation.”

We all know examples of sites that use these types of ads and as a consumer, I hate them.  I never block the ads but I just don’t go to those sites any more.  And that hurts me in getting the information I want or need and ultimately, it hurts the site as they don’t get revenue from their ads.

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Chrome For Android Enables Data Saver for Videos and More

Chrome for Android Personalized Content

The Google Chrome team has posted on Google blog some improvements that are available in the browser today with other new features that are in the pipeline.  Starting now, with a behind-the-scenes change, the browsers Data Saver feature works on videos.  Previously, Data Saver worked on text and images and when you had the feature enabled, Google would compress everything before sending it to your phone.  Essentially it acted like a proxy and the data savings were huge.  Initially the company rolled this out in India given the bandwidth constraints and costs in that country but the feature has now rolled out globally.  Back to this update, if you enabled Data Saver and view a site with a MP4 video, that video is now compressed before it hits your phone, saving you that extra bandwidth.

If you haven’t tried Data Saver, you can enable it on Chrome by going to Settings>Data Saver and enabling it.  I have been using it for months and I’ve had no ill effects on sites plus I’m saving on average 55% of the bandwidth the sites I visit would have required.  It’s pretty impressive.

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Google Chrome Browser Update for Windows & Mac Released

If you are a Google Chrome user on your Windows PC or Mac, there is a small but important update that has been released.  The updated builds are 54.0.2840.99 for Windows and 54.0.2840.98 for Mac.  Note that there is no update for Linux yet.  According to the release notes from the Chrome team, there are additional changes to the browser for that platform and it will be updated tomorrow.  The update will come via an OTA update but if you want to force the issue, go to chrome://help in the browser and it will force the update to happen.  I’ve already done this for my Macbook so the update is readily available.

Read on for details on what has changed.

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Microsoft Edge More Secure Than Google Chrome According to NSS

In a report from NSS Labs, the research company found that Microsoft Edge, the latest browser from the Redmond company, is more secure against phishing and malware than both Google Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox.  The set of reports, which can be downloaded here, tested three current versions of each browser over the months of September and October to get the results which will likely come as a surprise to some.  The versions tested for the reports were:

  • Google Chrome 53.0.2785
  • Mozilla Firefox 48.0.2
  • Microsoft Edge 38.14393.0.0

The first report focused on phishing where Edge achieved a 91.4% over the course of 12 days of testing at the NSS Labs in Austin, Texas in recognizing phishing URLs presented to it.  Chrome was at 82.4% while Firefox came in at 81.4%.  This is an important consideration in choosing a browser given the social engineering nature of phishing attacks which can lead to compromised accounts for users.

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