Google begins blocking annoying ads on its browser

The Google logo at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif can be seen in this file photo. (AP)
Updated 16 February 2018
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Google begins blocking annoying ads on its browser

WASHINGTON: Google has begun a new effort to block annoying ads on its Chrome browser, as part of an initiative aimed at improving the online advertising ecosystem that provides the bulk of its revenues.
The new ad filtering system rolled out this week aims to eliminate the most irritating marketing messages such as pop-ups, auto-play video ads and “sticky” boxes which cannot be removed.
The system was implemented by Google in partnership with the Coalition for Better Ads, an association which includes the Internet giant and a number of media and advertising partners.
“While most advertising on the web is respectful of user experience, over the years we’ve increasingly heard from our users that some advertising can be particularly intrusive,” Google engineering manager Chris Bentzel said in a blog post ahead of the rollout Thursday.
“Chrome will tackle this issue by removing ads from sites that do not follow the Better Ads Standards.”
While Google’s effort is expected to block only a small percentage of ads, it aims to counter a growing movement to install third-party ad blockers which filter all such advertisements and could be a threat to firms relying on online revenues.
According to a study last year by the research firm PageFair, about 11 percent of the global Internet population uses ad-blocking software, affecting 380 million mobile devices and 236 million desktop PCs.
Google vice president Rahul Roy-Chowdhury said the move aims to improve the online ad system even if it means blocking some ads from Google itself.
“To us, your experience on the web is a higher priority than the money that these annoying ads may generate — even for us,” Roy-Chowdhury said in a blog post.
“The web is an ecosystem composed of consumers, content producers, hosting providers, advertisers, web designers, and many others. It’s important that we work to maintain a balance — and if left unchecked, disruptive ads have the potential to derail the entire system.”
Google and its partners in the ad coalition thus appear to be aiming to head off a consumer revolt which could choke off revenues to Internet, media and advertising companies.
The Coalition for Better Ads said in a statement Thursday it “is pleased by the large number of companies in the online ad industry that have embraced the Better Ads Standards and taken action on their own and with their business partners to discontinue the ad formats consumers find most annoying and disruptive.”


SpaceX to announce private moon flight passenger

Big Falcon Rocket will transport the person to the moon. (SpaceX/Reuters)
Updated 17 September 2018
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SpaceX to announce private moon flight passenger

  • The person will fly to the moon aboard a new rocket called the BFR, which is still in development
  • SpaceX has said it will also reveal why the person is going

HAWTHORNE, California: SpaceX is on the verge of announcing the name of person who would be the first private passenger on a trip around the moon.
The identity of the traveler will be released at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, during an event Monday evening.
Entrepreneur Elon Musk’s space launch company said last week that the person will fly to the moon aboard a new rocket called the BFR, which is still in development.
SpaceX has said it will also reveal why the person is going.
No guidance has been given on when the moon flight could happen.
The average distance from Earth to the moon is about 237,685 miles (382,500 kilometers).
No one has been there since an Apollo mission in 1972.