What you need to know
- Google is testing a new 'Heavy Ad Intervention' feature for the Chrome browser.
- It automatically disables ads that consume excessive amounts of system resources.
- The feature is currently only available via a flag on the Canary builds for Chrome 80.
Ever had your system slowed down unexpectedly while browsing the web? Cryptomining ads — or just poorly optimise ones —may be to blame. And Google wants you to know that it's got your back, by blocking these 'poorly performant ads automatically.
The company notes that while this is a heavy-handed intervention, it poses little risk to the user's experience while browsing, as unloading an ad does not disrupt the content on the main page. The Explainer page for the feature also notes that only ads that exhibit excessive resource usage without user interaction will be unloaded, meaning if the power-hungry behaviour is initiated only after you've tinkered with the ad, it won't be blocked.
In terms of what kinds of ads Google is looking to block, it notes the following four types of offenders:
- Ads that mine cryptocurrency
- Ads that load large, poorly compressed images
- Ads that load large video files before a user gesture
The welcome addition to the browser is, however, only available to power users and tinkerers who are on the Canary builds of Chrome 80. Even then, it's hidden behind a flag that you need to toggle on manually. You can do so by inputting chrome://flags/ into the URL bar and searching for 'Heavy Ad Intervention'. There's no indication yet as to when the same will be released to stable builds of the browser, though if you're rocking Chrome Canary, you can access the flag on virtually all of the platforms Chrome supports: Android, Windows, macOS, Linux, and of course, Chrome OS.
With all of these changes, it's like Google is saying "do ads our way, or you aren't making money using our popular browser." If it wasn't from a company who makes money from ads, this would look better...
Yeah, you know damn well they won't block anything from their websites.
Chrome on mobile is trash immediately gets disabled. I never have to deal with slow downs cause of ads with Samsung internet. It's by far the best mobile browser.
Ah! So I will be able to use Android Central on chrome without full page, ultra high volume audio ads showing up all of a sudden? Sign me up. Will use the app more if that's the case!
Knock Knock..... Anybody home?..........No extensions on Chrome mobile = disabled browser.
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