Google Allows Ad-Blocking on Chrome Browser

Dennis Faas's picture

Google makes tens of billions of dollars each year through advertising sales. Yet it has now allowed independent developers to produce tools which block ads from appearing on pages viewed with its Chrome browser.

Since last month, the latest beta edition of Chrome has been able to run extensions, third-party tools which offer functions similar to those available for open-source browser Firefox (where they are known as add-ons). The current plan is to keep the extensions in the next full release of Chrome.

Programmer, Student Create Ad Blocker

An independent programmer from Athens, Georgia and a student from a Manhattan medical school have both produced their own Chrome edition of Adblock Plus, which prevents a web page displaying several of the most used methods of advertising. (Source:

One key difference is that Adblock Plus blocks the site from collecting the advertisement content, while the Chrome ad block allow the content to be collected but block it from appearing.

Google Ad Revenue At Stake

Given that this can even include blocking Google's own advertisement (Google Adwords) which appear alongside search results, both developers were surprised that they were allowed to produce the Chrome extensions.

This has prompted some debate about why Google might allow such an extension on its browser, given that it could wind up costing it ad revenue. One theory is that the firm felt it simply couldn't apply very tight restrictions on extensions, as developers don't make any money from them.

Another idea is that Google may believe people who would deliberately install ad-blocking software are inherently less likely to respond to advertising anyway. That's particularly relevant to ads on Google's pages where the search giant makes most of its cash from people clicking on an ad rather than simply viewing it.

May Force Advertisers To Change Tactics

For its part, Google says it sees all of this as a gamble that might just pay off. It argues that people will block advertising where it is an annoyance and that the ad-blockers will force advertisers to produce less-annoying ads. (Source:

It's also worth noting that Chrome's 40 million users represents only a tiny proportion of all Internet users. Throw in the fact that the ad-blockers only work on a beta edition and it's clear that there is room for Google to treat these ad-blocking extensions as an experiment that doesn't risk its entire business model.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet