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Google To Block 'Annoying' Online Ads That Fail To Make The Grade

The Chrome logo is displayed at a Google event in New York in 2013.
Mark Lennihan
The Chrome logo is displayed at a Google event in New York in 2013.

Tired of annoying online ads? There could be some relief starting Thursday, if you're one of the vast majority of people who use Google Chrome as your default browser.

Google is launching a built-in blocker in Chrome that is designed to filter out ads it says repeatedly violate standards put out by the Coalition of Better Ads. Pop-up ads? Check. Auto-playing video ads? Yep. Large sticky ads? You know, the ones that stay on your screen even as you try to scroll past them. Those are on the blacklist, too.

Of course, Google is simply putting in its own version of what many users have already installed by third parties. And, not surprisingly, as The Associated Press notes, "many of Google's own most lucrative ads will sail through its new filters."

"We want the web to be a place where businesses can thrive and make revenue, but also a place where users can have a good experience," said Ryan Schoen, Google's product manager for web platform work at Chrome. "We're hoping this will bring balance back in the web ecosystem."

Ads will get a "passing," "warning," or "failing" grade from Google depending on how frequently the violate the Better Ads Standards.

Marketing Interactive explains:

"Ads with a 'Failing' status in the report for over 30 days will be removed. Website owners can also request that they be re-reviewed after addressing the non-compliant ad experiences.

According to Google, the Better Ads Standards will evaluate how well websites comply with the standard, inform websites of any issues encountered and offer the opportunity for websites to address identified issues. When a Chrome user navigates to a web page, its ad filter will check if that page belongs to a site that fails the Better Ads Standards."

Chrome is far and away the most popular browser on the web: it is used for 56 percent of all accessed pages. Safari, the default browser for the Apple iPhone, is a distant second at just under 15 percent, according to

Critics have noted that among the types of ads that are not being targeted are pre-roll video ads, such as the type that run on Google-owned YouTube.

Google has already started warning sites that might not be in compliance, and 42 percent of those have "dialed back on ads to pass Google's standards, including the LA Times, Forbes and the Chicago Tribune," CNET reports.

The Verge says: "Google is being more aggressive about its mobile ad blocking, filtering out pop-up ads, ads that are displayed before content loads (with or without a countdown), auto-play video ads with sound, large sticky ads, flashing animated ads, fullscreen scroll over ads, and ads that are particularly dense."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.