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Chrome to start blocking certain video ads

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Google might make most of their revenue off advertising, but on the Chrome side, they seem intent on trying to make it as less of an annoyance as possible. It’s something which most people will probably be happy with, but could no doubt make certain revenue streams less happy with the approach.

In the latest version of Chrome 80, the company has added a feature which allows users to block ads that drain too many system resources, something which is annoying when you load a webpage only for everything to slow up because for some ad they want to play. Unless it’s a site I really want to visit, it’s generally followed by me closing the tab, which means the ad is just a deterrent anyway. It’s something which Chrome also probably wants to stop to ensure their browsers already sluggish performance is no ruined by ridiculously resource-heavy ads.

Plans are in place for Chrome to also start blocking video ads too. Or at least, video ads which don’t conform to a certain standard. Google revealed this in a new blog post where a decision was made by the Coalition for Better Ads of which Google, along with Microsoft and Facebook, are board members. The official guidance is a set of rules which all companies will need to follow on the internet – and as such, Chrome will block videos that don’t conform to these rules from August.

The type of ads that will be blocked is as follows:

Long, non-skippable pre-roll ads or groups of ads longer than 31 seconds that appear before a video and that cannot be skipped within the first 5 seconds.

Mid-roll ads of any duration that appear in the middle of a video, interrupting the user’s experience.

Image or text ads that appear on top of a playing video and are in the middle 1/3 of the video player window or cover more than 20 percent of the video content.

These are all really annoying bad practices that should change. It’s good to see companies uniting to do something about it. As for Google, they will also be affected by these decisions, though interestingly YouTube has already been moving in this direction, and so they are now just conforming all other sites to follow their own practices. Still, it’s a positive step and while advertising will always remain on the internet to monetise it, some etiquette towards the user experience is appreciated and will hopefully go a long way to make certain sites more user-friendly.  

Last Updated: February 7, 2020

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