Google is at war with ad-blockers on Android. Today, the company suddenly removed all traces of ad-blocking software from its app store. Ad-blockers were allowed in the Play Store for many years so it’s a bit of a mystery as to why Google decided to act now.
While ad-blockers were not doing any malicious, the apps did technically violate Google’s terms of service. The particular passage that ad-blockers violate is Section 4.4 which states that apps may not interfere, disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to another app. Ad-blockers would technically interfere with the function of an app since the developer would not get any ad revenue from those who have ad-blockers installed.
This move will have far-reaching consequences for Google. One of the biggest selling points of Android is its openness and by removing ad-blockers from the Play Store, Google is proving that its open garden is starting to put up fences. Although Google does make most of is revenue from ads, I don’t believe this move was for self-preservation. Google is likely caving to developer pressure to stop users from blocking ads, which give them a source of income. It’s also a bit contradictory of Google to remove ad-blockers from the Play store while it still allows ad-blocking extensions in its Chrome web store.
Ad-blockers will undoubtedly live on; just not within Google’s Play Store. Those who wish to block ads will likely find the app from other sources and can manually install it.
Do you use ad-blockers on your phone? Will you stop because of this move from Google?