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February 19, 2018

Chrome to Squish Obnoxious Web Advertising

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

The next version of Chrome will do something you really want: It will suppress what Google has defined as obnoxious online ads. This list includes advertising videos that automatically play, pop-ups that block most of the screen, and other annoyances. Coincidentally, Google obtains the bulk of its revenue through online ads. I suppose a relationship doesn’t exist between the two items.

Well, of course it does!

On the one hand, I’m pleased that Google is addressing what’s rapidly resembling the early days of online advertising. I suppose you don’t remember back when, but web pages would load slowly — and keep loading. Pop-ups filled the screen. Sounds played. Animations agitated. Some webpages were obnoxious! Now it seems we’re returning to that era.

The web designers are clever, however. The ads today are sleeker and less irritating, but still irritating.

Recently, Apple updated its Safari web browser to suppress the automatic playing of videos. I cheered. Now Google’s Chrome is going to do the same thing, but the press release didn’t clarify whether the setting was only for ad videos or for all videos. News sites annoy me when the page takes ages to load and then, after I’m halfway through the article, a video starts playing. Loudly.

Google’s efforts with this Chrome update might seem to address user complaints, but I think the real reason is to suppress advertising from other sources. No, it’s not illegal: Google has the right to do whatever with its own web browser software. If that means it restricts online ads from anyone but Google (or Facebook), then that’s why you don’t pay for Chrome. It’s your choice!

The issue doesn’t bother me. The only thing that would tick me off is if Google restricts others from “annoying” advertising and then Google itself becomes the mother of annoying online advertising. I don’t think that’s their goal. In fact, I’ll just wait to see whether their efforts to suppress these annoying ads has any effect on the sites I visit after the new version of Chrome is released, supposedly sometime next month.

UPDATE!

Late last year, I wrote how Chrome would flag insecure websites, or those that don’t use the https or SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology. That update has been implemented, but you probably haven’t noticed.

If you gander up at the top of this page, you see the “[padlock] Secure” flag at the start of the URL on the address bar when you use the Chrome web browser. This text ensures that the web site is secure. If you instead see a tiny “i” in a circle, the site is not secure or, more properly, doesn’t use SSL technology. Sometimes you might even see the text “Not secure” displayed.

The effect of the “not secure” text hasn’t been as damaging as I thought it would be. People don’t really seem to be bothered whether a site is secure or non-secure. And, seriously, if you’re not using the site to send secure data, why should it use SSL? Still, I’m happy I got the SSL certificate for this site. I’ve not had as many hacking attempts since the upgrade.

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