GOOGLE HAS UNLEASHED the latest weapon in its war on bad ads, with the announcement of Chrome 71.
The next version of the world's most popular web browser will include a new feature that will block sites advertising completely, if they serve any bad ads along with the good ones.
The criteria is spotting sites that try to show fake error messages (like the ones telling you that you have a virus), sites that redirect you without so much as a by-your-leave as well as anything that seems phishy or social engineer-y.
Chrome 71 iwon't just block sites. Instead it will use any complaints about a site as the starting pistol for a 30 day warning that it's time to pack in the funny stuff. After that, the ads get locked and the ability to make money off your site is gone with it.
Users will be able to choose to opt out of this setting, but it's unlikely many will, because fundamentally it's a good thing. But it's not. And here's why.
Although there's little doubt that, fundamentally, this is brilliant news for all of us who want a safer web. But nobody asked Google to do this. Google did it all by itself.
You may remember the issue last year where another Google vigilante, Project Zero, was heavily criticised after reporting a vulnerability in a Microsoft product despite the fact that Microsoft were well in hand to fix it with a Patch Tuesday drop before anyone ever found out.
What we've actually got here is "Google: World Police" - a group going in to fix things nobody really asked them to, uniaterally, instead of working with the industry for a solution.
Google is (arguably) a 'good actor' but there but if a 'bad actor' starts trying to do the same, convinced in its own self-righteousness, then, guys, seriously - we're screwed.
Plus, there's the disconnect between Chrome not displaying the ads, and Google selling the ads in the first place - now Google could sell a bad ad and it never be displayed, which is pretty sneaky. μ
Bad for shareholders, mildly good for the planet
YouTube on the Tube
Claims that it hasn't ever actually worked