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Google removes ad blocking apps from Google Play

Google has taken the audacious (and laudable) step to unilaterally remove all ad blocking apps from Google Play Store, a move which one major player, Adblock Plus, describes as “threatening consumer choice”.

(ed : Check out what I think about ad blocking here (opens in new tab))

The reason Google puts forward to explain its decision is that these applications violated Google Play’s Developer Distribution Agreement.

The document clearly stipulates that developers should not "engage in any activity with the market, including the development or distribution of products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party."

In other words, Google has taken a very firm stance towards anyone who tries to interfere with advertising which is still by and large the main source of revenue for the company.

One of the bigger players to be affected by Google’s decision to crack down on ad blockers is Adblock Plus. Its co-founder, Till Faida, said in a statement “I realise that advertising revenue is important to Google, but understand that Adblock Plus does not automatically block all ads; we simply allow users the choice whether to block ads or whitelist them. We even encourage advertising that is done appropriately and conforms to an Acceptable Ads (opens in new tab) policy, which is debated and decided in an open public forum”.

We interviewed Faida back in December 2012. You can read that report here (opens in new tab).

Interestingly he also listed how Google seems to be systematically targeting Adblock Plus which is the most popular browser add-on, having been downloaded more than 200 million times already. Neither Apple or Microsoft allow adblocking apps on their respective marketplaces.

One wonders what would happen if Google and the rest of the browser market decide to actively ban adblocking altogether.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.