Google reverts its decision to ban dedicated ad-blockers

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 10, 2016 13:12 IST
Following an appeal from Adblock Fast developers, Google will now allow ad blockers on Play Store (Rocketship)

Google, who seemed pretty adamant about banning ad-blockers from the Play Store, is now backing out.

TechCrunch reports that the search engine giant is reversing its policy, and will now allow ad-blockers to stay on Play Store. The move essentially signifies a change in Google’s policies in terms of the kind of apps the company will allow on its app store.

“We submitted an appeal on the Monday our update was rejected and we are happy to report that Google has reversed their decision, both accepting our appeal in an email sent to us on Friday evening and approving and republishing Adblock Fast”, wrote Rocketship, the developers’ group behind AdBlock Fast in a blog post.

Adblock Fast is an Android app available on the Play Store primarily aimed at allowing users to block ads without the need to root their device or switch to another browser.

Korean manufacturer Samsung recently launched Adblock Fast on its proprietory browser for Android devices, which would allow third-party developers to build apps for blocking ads. However, access to some of these ad blocking apps was restricted on the Play Store as they were not permitted by Google under the new guidelines.

“The devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third-party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator,” reads section 4.4 of Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement.

Earlier, Google had planned to only support mobile browsers that could block ads with built-in ad blocking features such as the Adblock Plus browser, along with those with support for ad blocking via extensions.

Now under the new policy, Google has come to a decision that standalone ad-blocking apps distributed via APKs will not to be allowed on the Play Store. For instance, Crystal and Adblock Fast along with other similar apps started appearing on Play Store following Samsung’s move to include ad blocking support within its proprietory mobile web browser in February.

Hence, it appears that Google is making sure that apps that interfere without permission will be banned from the Play Store. Moreover, the fact that abundance of ad-blocking browsers will not have good implications for publishers as they heavily depend on ads for revenue.

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