Risk
7/3/2012
01:54 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Plans Button To Block Ads

Feature may put an end to ads that follow you across websites.

Google Nexus 7 Tablet: 10 Coolest Features
Google Nexus 7 Tablet: 10 Coolest Features
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Google said Monday it will soon provide users with a capability that has been available for years through third-party browser extensions: the ability to block ads.

Google characterizes this forthcoming feature--available in a few weeks--as a "mute this ad" button rather than an ad-blocking button.

Google's choice of words is imprecise. Muting generally refers to audio made inaudible; it can be applied to the visual realm, but muted colors remain present in a less vibrant shade, unlike muted sounds or muted ads.

Google's mute button, designated by an "[x]" in the upper right-hand corner of some Google Display Network ads, will affect ad visibility rather than audibility. Perhaps Google opted for more figurative terminology to avoid spooking its advertising customers with talk of ad blocking, while still appealing to its end users and regulators.

Google product manager Michael Aiello in a blog post cites ways in which Google has given users more control over the ads they see, such as YouTube's TrueView ad product, which allows users to skip video ads, and Google's Ads Preferences Manager, which allows users to edit advertising interest categories or to opt out of online ads, including remarketing done through the Google Display Network.

[ Google is also trying to turn down the volume on its legal woes. Read Google Proposes Remedies To EU Antitrust Woes. ]

Remarketing refers to the way that advertisers target website visitors based on a cookie file placed at a previously visited website. Google plans to begin deploying its "mute this ad" button on ads delivered via remarketing and interest categories. This will give Internet users the opportunity to silence unwanted ads that follow them from website to website.

Aiello says that the mute button has some limitations. "The muting is not a 100% guarantee you won't see that ad again as a consumer--for example, the same ad could be shown by a different ad company, or the marketer could run a separate campaign targeting specific Web content," he explains. "But we believe it's an early step in the right direction of giving users control over ads, while helping marketers and websites deliver ads that perform better."

Author and ad company entrepreneur John Battelle in a blog post said he was glad to see Google innovating in advertising, even if belatedly. One person commenting on Battelle's post observed that the subtext of Google's announcement was, "Please don't use ad-blockers, because you can choose which ad we will show you."

Here's Aiello's translation of that sentiment: "Online advertising underpins the Web and supports millions of businesses," he said. "It's already unique in the level of control it can offer users."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading, January 2015
To find and fix exploits aimed directly at your business, stop waiting for alerts and become a proactive hunter.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7402
Published: 2014-12-17
Multiple unspecified vulnerabilities in request.c in c-icap 0.2.x allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via a crafted ICAP request.

CVE-2014-5437
Published: 2014-12-17
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in ARRIS Touchstone TG862G/CT Telephony Gateway with firmware 7.6.59S.CT and earlier allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) enable remote management via a request to remote_management.php,...

CVE-2014-5438
Published: 2014-12-17
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in ARRIS Touchstone TG862G/CT Telephony Gateway with firmware 7.6.59S.CT and earlier allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the computer_name parameter to connected_devices_computers_edit.php.

CVE-2014-7170
Published: 2014-12-17
Race condition in Puppet Server 0.2.0 allows local users to obtain sensitive information by accessing it in between package installation or upgrade and the start of the service.

CVE-2014-7285
Published: 2014-12-17
The management console on the Symantec Web Gateway (SWG) appliance before 5.2.2 allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary OS commands by injecting command strings into unspecified PHP scripts.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.