Google Chrome is the world’s most popular browser. It’s also bloated and resource-hungry, which can lead to a sluggish user experience. Fortunately, Google is looking to fix this via a new inbuilt feature that will automatically block heavy-load ads. Here’s what you need to know.
Data-hungry adverts have long been the bane of internet browsing. While advertising is unavoidable (how else do you make online content free?) it can be argued that many online publishers have taken things too far, with deliberately obtrusive adverts that slow down page loading and detract from the overall experience. Google has decided enough is enough.
In a recent blog post, Google confirmed it will be beefing up Chrome’s inbuilt ad blocker with an automated tool that will prevent overly “heavy” ads from loading – without any intervention from the user.
“A small fraction of ads on the web use an egregious amount of system resources. These poorly performant ads (whether intentional or not) harm the user’s browsing experience by making pages slow, draining device battery, and consuming mobile data,” Google said.
“In these egregious cases, the browser can unload the offending ads to protect the individual’s device resources. This is a strong intervention that is meant to safeguard the user’s resources with low risk because unloading an ad is unlikely to result in loss of functionality of the page’s main content.”
An advertisement will be flagged as “heavy” if it has not been clicked on by the user and meets any of the following criteria:
- Used the main thread for more than 60 seconds total
- Used the main thread for more than 15 seconds in any 30 second window (50% utilization over 30 seconds)
- Used more than 4 megabytes of network bandwidth to load resources
According to Google, the automatic blocking of these ads is expected to wrest 16.1% of all CPU usage from ad creatives and return it to individual users. Naturally, this will translate to a faster browsing experience.
The new rules should also hopefully prompt website publishers and third-party ad agencies to change their practices for the better. Which is good news for everybody.