Besides their AMP initiative, Google has stayed silent during the “ad blocker wars.” Perhaps it’s because there isn’t much to worry about. Only 2.2% of Americans use ad blockers, and Americans are now spending more time in apps than watching TV. Google may not be giving an opinion because they don’t want to. As creators of an ad blocker ourselves, we’d like to walk through why this is.
With the release of Android Nougat, Google has stopped phones from being able to filter encrypted traffic. Ads for Google, YouTube, Facebook, and more all utilize encryption in order to serve ads. AdClear’s Advanced Protection, which normally blocks these ads, cannot be installed. For the time being, Nougat users will have little means to block these ads.
This also hearkens back to AMP, whose end goal is to have ads not be data intensive. Google now has the tools to define the scope of the debate moving forward. AMP addresses several of the key annoyances of mobile advertising (loading speed, data use) while keeping the ones that are annoying by design (tracking, flying carpets). The rules for an AMP-approved ad are nowhere near strenuous.
What’s brilliant is that it’s difficult to see the forest for the trees. Google has done an impressionable amount of good for the world, so when they have a bad product or make a bad decision, most don’t bat an eye. One could even assume that the average Android user doesn’t know which ads come from Google (probably 99% of them). This is the Google mantra: invent, but don’t progress. The scope of the AMP project gives us something to gawk at while the policies we loathe remain in place. Look for this pattern to continue going forward.
You can block ads, trackers, and more on your Android device by using AdClear, available for free from our website. We also recently released the AdClear Lite extension for Safari and Samsung Browser.
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