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Chrome to Start Blocking ‘Resource-Heavy’ Ads

Marshall Vale, product manager for Google Chrome:

We have recently discovered that a fraction of a percent of ads consume a disproportionate share of device resources, such as battery and network data, without the user knowing about it. These ads (such as those that mine cryptocurrency, are poorly programmed, or are unoptimized for network usage) can drain battery life, saturate already strained networks, and cost money.

In order to save our users’ batteries and data plans, and provide them with a good experience on the web, Chrome will limit the resources a display ad can use before the user interacts with the ad. When an ad reaches its limit, the ad’s frame will navigate to an error page, informing the user that the ad has used too many resources. Here is an example of an ad that has been unloaded.

This is a great idea, and everyone other than scammers and bad programmers should support it wholeheartedly. I hurt myself, however, when I rolled my eyes at the “we have recently discovered” bit. It beggars belief that the Chrome development team hasn’t been fully aware of the gross resource consumption of web ads. They didn’t recently discover this — they recently decided to finally take action.

Your move, WebKit.

Thursday, 14 May 2020