Chrome to Automatically Block Power-Hungry Ads

John Lister's picture

Chrome is to start automatically blocking online ads that make particularly high use of computer resources. It will be a small change that Google hopes will have a big effect.

This will be the second set of changes Chrome has made to the way it handles ads following alterations over the past couple of years to block "abusive" and "deceptive" ads. These include ads which have misleading buttons such as a "play" button that actually downloads a file or a "close window" button that actually opens new pop-up windows.

The new change will involve Chrome having an limit on how much resources such as processing power an ad can consume before the user actively interacts with it, for example by clicking on it.

CPU and Data Could Trigger Block

If the threshold is reached, the ad will be replaced by a gray box and an error message linking to a page explaining why it's been removed.

The threshold is triggered into two ways. The first is that in any 30-second period, the ad either uses the device's CPU for 15 seconds or attempts to download 4 megabytes of data. The second is that the ad uses the CPU for a total of 60 seconds.

Google's initial testing found that just 0.1 percent of all ads will breach the threshold, but that they are responsible for 27 percent of all network data used by ads and 28 percent of all CPU usage by ads. (Source: chromium.org)

Launch Scheduled For August

The testing will now be expanded to all users of the "early release" versions of Chrome with a plan to roll it out to all users of the standard Chrome in late-August, which Google says will give the advertising community enough time to adjust to the changes. Google will provide advertisers and agencies with details of all ads blocked under the program. (Source: theregister.co.uk)

Critics of the plan say the threshold is too high, particularly as it applies to single ads rather than an entire page which could have multiple ads.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you welcome this move? Has Google struck the right balance? Is it better to leave it up to users to vote with their mouse buttons?

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Comments

Draq's picture

It's a good start. Part of why I block ads is because of some causing my browser to lag.

However, I still prefer to block all ads due to malvertising unless unless I trust the site. I'm not sure if Google can really do anything about that though since malvertising can be done without the site's owner's knowledge.

eric's picture

Google could have done this long ago. Now they're getting serious competition from the new Chromium based Edge browser and they're trying to make theirs better.
Edge has a huge advantage in blocking tracking and malicious elements. The default Edge settings reduces items for uBlock Origin to catch by 70%-90%.