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back to article Ad-titan Google blocks Adblock Plus in Android security tweak

The maker of Adblock Plus is upset its users must jump through hoops to get its advert-banishing app working on devices running Android - the mobile OS made by advertising giant Google. The complaint follows moves by Google that made it more difficult for Google Chrome users to use Adblock Plus as a browser extension. The …

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The thinking behind its Android security update

Is forcing more advertising. Everywhere.

190 million downloads = a lot of people who do not want adverts.

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Re: The thinking behind its Android security update

190 million = not that many in real terms. Even though that number is only for Firefox users (which is the only platform it really works well on IMO), I for one can probably account for a couple of dozen or more downloads over the years as I've built new boxes or otherwise moved onto new machines. So maybe that 190 million should be more like 10 million - about the population of the London Metropolitan Area.

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Facepalm

@Badvok: 190 million = not that many in real terms.

190 million is still 190 million downloads.

The only way to diminish 190 million is to do so as the basis of a spurious argument.

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Stop

Re: The thinking behind its Android security update

It was enough to make Google nobble it.

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To be fair...

To be fair, while I admit that Google have more than a passing interest in ensuring people don't use Adblock, as a security move, they've got a point.

To me, the fact that users can install a proxy server locally without their knowledge sounds like an attack vector begging for an exploit.

If I install "Vegetable Ninja" and later find that my Hotmail account is being piped through a black-hat proxy that's adding a couple of spam messages for every mail I send, I won't be happy.

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Re: To be fair...

It's pressure from advertisers, 'hey Google, you'd better remove any addon that prevents my ads from being seen or else I'll spend my money elsewhere!"

The fact that 190,000,000 users downloaded the app makes no difference, Google needs the revenue it gets from the advertising community.

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Re: To be fair...

As somebody once said, "If you're not paying for the product, you are the product." For Google and its paying advertising customers, you are the product.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The thinking behind its Android security update

"The maker of Adblock Plus is upset"...

"What about the fucking users????"

OK 2 points.

I am comparatively ignorant about the proxy server issue.... sort of.

My main grips is the oversaturation of advertising that people do not want or need, being incessantly shoved in our fucking faces all the time.

This irritates me on several counts.....

1. I own a pushbike... and I am very happy with that. Therefore:

a) Stuffing adds in my face for cars irritates me - because.

b) I don't want to see the fucking adds, and

c) I don't want to buy a fucking car.

This purchasing to meet my modest needs only, extends to every plethora of gear used in advertising.

There is also the saturation advertising.....

It's like the local shop keepers...

They have Frontage for their own advertising above the shop awnings. They have the edge of the veranda to stick their own advertising on. They have the big shop windows to stick their own advertising on.

They then extend their advertising out of their space and into the public space, by sticking sandwich boards on the foot path for the passing foot traffic.

They then stick MORE of their own advertising, on their own sandwich boards out between the parking bays and the main road.....

(which I complained about - because after a car pulled in to park and another reversed out and I nearly ran into one of the signs - and it's a fucking road, not a empty lot.)

And they also advertise themselves and their wares in the "Proudly supported by" sections...... and in the local news papers.... and mailouts, and the reach has become sort of all pervasive.

Even the Hollywood scum with their "Hollywood accounting" never float a movie unless it has a ton of product placements in them....

Well the main thrust of my case is that the ONLY advertising that is really appropriate, is the advertising of the products or services, on the site of the people who are supplying them.

This assumed right to shove endless amounts of advertising, in peoples faces, at all times, about all things, has gone from something like "the shop keepers, advertising their own services from their own premises", into a fucking plague of advertising.

And many of the advertisers are stupid fucking human beings..... sticking flashing adds in the middle of columns of text..... "Like OH Duh - lets piss off the readers SO much, that they either leave and never come back or they are finally driven into looking for ways to block the adds....."

Then they whine about the loss of readers....

Fucking idiots.

Then you get the adds that slide up or down the sides of the screen, or in from the side of the page, or the pop up layer adds that cover / block the whole page, that you have to click on to get rid of.....

And the fucking arseholes at google, they just don't get it - shoving 10,000 adds a day in peoples faces for shit they generally don't want or need, simply wastes their time, and it's an annoyance.

Much of it is outright stupid.... It's a fucking plague of advertising....

They searches are filled with adds. They have adds in the search results, as well as the search results, they put adds in the Gmail, they put adds in the Youtube, they put in adds about buying adds as adds......

I have read news papers from 200 years ago, and they SOLD the news, where the content of the paper was the news, and there was about 10% of the page space used on adds.

Now news papers have like 90% of their total space used for adds, and they generally have skimpy low IQ stories about stupid brainless bullshit, or the sensationalist headline grabbers - and the spectator sport crap of politics.

And even the most clueless of readers are saying, "There is nothing but shit in them - not worth reading."

Anyway, without Add Block Plus, and Element Hiding helper for Add Block Plus, Flash Block etc., and a few other things....

I would not even come to this site...

But the idiots who run Google, there may indeed be legitimate technical reasons for crunching add blocking in android - but if they were allowed to run rampant - as they have, for every ONE person who becomes so irritated that they go and hunt out and install Add Block Plus and Element Hiding Helper and Flash Block etc., there are probably another 50 people who are seriously irritated by all the adds, and there are probably other 50 other people who simply refuse to use the internet much at all.

Google is like the shop owners who have gone from the sandwich board on the sides of the street, to putting plaquards in the front yard, and signs on your house walls, and then a free interior wall papering as well....

Stickers on your TV screen, labels in the toilet bowl, advertising screen printed on your curtains....

They are just so fucking all intrusive and all pervasive and so fucking unrelenting and........

Out of pure spite, I might just go pay a heap of money to Add Block Plus, just to get my own back on Google.

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Re: The thinking behind its Android security update

Nice rant, I thought. Summed up in this bit:

Oh4FS: "(...) shoving 10,000 adds a day in peoples faces for shit they generally don't want or need, simply wastes their time, and it's an annoyance."

It's all very well to say "This site is free to you because it is paid for by advertising" BUT when I have no intention of buying any products or services, then it's just a waste of my time. When I need to buy something, I seek it out and then maybe hand over the dosh. Waving stuff in my face while I'm busy watching Greatest Kitten Fails just gets my back up and I won't buy it.

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Re: The thinking behind its Android security update: @Oh4FS long rant

I agree with you on all points, but haven't given you an up-vote because of the unnecessary over-use of the word "fucking". It was monotonous and grating.

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@Ed_UK

So, you'd prefer not to see those ads, so you'd be willing to pay a couple of quid a month to the website, so that you can use it?

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Re: The thinking behind its Android security update

I suppose its a shame the local device doesnt do it, but that might limit battery life and increase resource usage so I can see why they use a proxy. I am worried it'll mean Opera with Opera Turbo will have the same problem as thats sort of the same thing (Except lowering file sizes rather than removing ads)

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Re: can install a proxy server locally without their knowledge

Fixing that requires one pop-up or an additional privilege setting that is required to install the app. Not routing around to an 8 step process to fix it.

I don't use Ad Block and this whole thing reeks of sulfur dioxide as far as I'm concerned.

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FAIL

Do no Evil

Hey Google. Remember this? No, did't think so.

Perhaps you can change it to "Do no evil, unless we loose money because people don't like adverts and try to block them".

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Re: Do no Evil

How is it evil for Google to protect their business interests? Everyone knows that Google makes their money primarily from advertising, they're not trying to deceive you. Morally I think it is probably more evil to use something like AdBlock Plus while taking advantage of Google's tools and services.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do no Evil

they're not trying to deceive you

Bwahahahahaha, sorry. That's a keyboard for the wash. As far as I can tell, Google HAS been deceiving people. For one thing, calling a service free when you're paying with personal details is not free at all, but the deception lies in the "helpful" explanations of their service. They're actually scary - someone must have spent a lot of time with NLP techniques and lawyers creating these.

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Re: Do no Evil

Of course, any action taken to protect business interests must necessarily be good, eh?

My computing device. I get to decide what it downloads and displays. Don't want to serve me content? Go ahead and block me, I'm cool with that. Just please don't try to tell ME what to do with MY device.

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Re: Do no Evil

"My computing device. I get to decide what it downloads and displays. Don't want to serve me content? Go ahead and block me, I'm cool with that. Just please don't try to tell ME what to do with MY device."

Playing devil's advocate with that, wouldn't Google be entitled to say something like "Our app store / OS. We get to decide what it provides and uploads. Don't want to use our systems? Go ahead and run something else, we're cool with that. Just please don't try to tell US what to do with OUR software." ?

It's a genuine conflict with neither side exactly in the wrong - I block adverts but also use sites like gmail and The Register which depend on advertising revenue to keep running. I'm aware this makes me something of a useless sponger in their eyes.

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Re: Do no Evil

>Of course, any action taken to protect business interests must necessarily be good, eh?

It is to the these right wing wacko ideologs who think capitalism was invented by their God and that a culture of advertising and consumption is not only sustainable but is heaven on earth.

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Devil

Re: Do no Evil

It's just a typo.

They meant to type "Do know Evil".

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JDX
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Re: Do no Evil

>>Hey Google. Remember this? No, did't think so.

For the love of... grow up. Do you even know what the word "evil" means? First World problem...

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Re: Do no Evil

If a business model COMPELS people to do something against their wishes, or leaves them no out, or cuts them off from information, then why would that NOT be evil.

Advertisers who cannot penetrate need to find a better way to reach people rather than rely on or pressure Google to wholesale screw over those of us who want or need the ability to keep our devices stable, junk-free, and our concentration undisturbed. What's next, advertisers demanding to interrupt our non-querying sessions to force us to "inject" or "inhale" the adverts?

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Re: Do no Evil

I disabled the bypass filters in Adblocker which allowed Google ads through, and I redirect all Android devices to a "SCREW GOOGLE" image. Lets turn the web dark to Google and its customers. Fuck all tax avoiding criminals.

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Badvok

Is an anagram for shameless Google astroturfer. Shameless !

P.S. the Register app is still borked.

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Headmaster

Re: Do no Evil

Where is this "loose" money you speak of - did it fall out of your pocket.

Perhaps they would "lose" money

icon: seriously? you need an explanation

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Re: Our app store / OS

Business rule #1: The customer is always right.

Business rule #2: When in doubt refer to rule #1.

Observation #1: You setup a store to sell to Customers, not collect product.

Observation #2: The customer is the one install Ad-Block.

Action: Refer to Rule #1 or Rule #2.

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No matter

Just download Firefox for Android and install Adblock Plus or Adblock Edge there.

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Re: No matter

Android is the one platform where I go to Firefox before Chrome. Partially because of Adblock and partly because they list tabbed pages down the side. Seems to be a much easier interface on a tablet.

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Re: No matter

One problem with that - FF is only available through Google's store which requires that you register your android device with Google before letting you in.

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don't expect any response from Google

Google did essentially the same to APN setting last year, blocking it on ICS and later. They have so far completely ignored all requests for some alternative solution, shown no interest at all in the apps it broke or the users it's inconvenienced. They didn't even list it as a change, just went ahead and quietly killed it.

They can make as much noise as they like, Google will not change this and it's unlikely they'll even read the complaints. It's the Google way, they don't do feedback from anything smaller than governments. And they don't pay much attention to governments.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: don't expect any response from Google

given their latest no feedback what-so-fucking-ever in reply to the demands by the EU, it appears they might have raised the bar, i.e. they will reply only if queried by the gov of the US of A. Possibly, mabye ;)

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Re: don't expect any response from Google

Or unless backed up with the threat of a hit to their bottom line. So unless the EU threatens to fine Google (and it would have to be something big like a 10% GAP fine or so), Google will see it as just The Cost of Doing Business.

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Anonymous Coward

It's open source

Can eg. CyanogenMod put it back in?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: don't expect any response from Google

So unless the EU threatens to fine Google (and it would have to be something big like a 10% GAP fine or so), Google will see it as just The Cost of Doing Business.

From the discussions I have had so far with people close to the EU case it appears there is strong awareness of that fact, and the very last shred of leniency that may have been available has been removed by that fool that stated that the US might consider a trade war over the right to be forgotten. You really have no idea how strongly people object to idiots trying to bully them, and politicians are no different. If anything, it has probably assured Google will get the sharp end of an axe in its neck because it will be taken as a route to aggressively demonstrate that the EU is not going to be cowed. It hasn't exactly helped either that Brussels was suddenly awash with US lobbyists, it demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of how the EU works and its culture.

What is more interesting is that I received indications that there are apparently cases pending in the US itself against Google. I'm not sure if this is true, but we'll soon know. I suspect the coming month may demonstrate to a number of people that certain statements are simply not made in public without consequences.

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err.

The extension in Firefox works fine for me (on JB4.2.2) - I know this is different to the app as the app aims to rid you of all ads across all apps rather than web browsing ads only, though.

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Re: err.

That changes the entire complexion of it really, to my mind. If this app enables people to run the ad funded versions of apps without the developer getting the ad revenue then fair play to Google. If you don't want ads on apps pay up for the full version, find an alternative or write one yourself.

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Angel

Re: err.

I don't like ad-funded apps. I either pay for the app or Ifind one that doesn't have adverts in it.

I think I might be in a very tiny minority...

Still have adblock installed anyway. It catches a few of the more troublesome "adverts" that would otherwise reduce my browsing experience to a series of jerky slideshows before the browser gave up and crashed under the strain.

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Re: err.

Your mind must have better logical reasoning skills than mine.

I don't see the fundamental difference between blocking the revenue of a developer who is ad funded vs blocking the revenue of a website who is ad funded.

In fact I suffer the same level of guilt when I leave the TV and make a coffee during those ads that are paying for that very show.

That said, I haven't installed adblock on my mobile yet. It lives on my desktop because websites were showing ads that got in the way, made a racket or otherwise consumed half the resources of my PC. On the mobile it hasn't been as bad.

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Re: err. @ Adam 1

"In fact I suffer the same level of guilt when I leave the TV and make a coffee during those ads that are paying for that very show." That was a joke, wasn't it? Wasn't it??? Please tell me it was - it will bother me all day that there may really be someone so totally brainwashed by the capitalist propaganda ...

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Re: err. @ Adam 1

The clue, I think, is in the bit where he's watching TV. Battle all you like, when you're watching the gogglebox you've already lost the war and might as well turn your brain in at the nearest re-education facility.

And I never said my system was perfect. However, it's only on mobile. At home I selectively whitelist sites that I want to support, but I'm always ready to drop them off it again if they start flinging "dynamic" crap around in an attempt to upsell my user experience or whatever the buzzwords are these days.

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Anonymous Coward

I rather think google has a point here

Although not ideal for ad-block the ability to proxy traffic IS a fairly nasty hole to fall into if it is done unexpectedly. Given the blind trust smartphone users have in apps not being malicious its proably a good move.

At least the 8 stage process cant be done without your consent!

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That actually sounds reasonable

That actually sounds reasonable.

I don't want applications to be able to automatically redirect my web pages without me specifically allowing them to. Pity it makes adblock harder to install, but on the whole it's a good thing.

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Alt Method

Fortunately adblock+ still works as an addon in Firefox Mobile - although I don't like FF mobile's UI as much as Chrome Mobile and only use it where I encounter sites with excessive or obnoxious advertising like ... well ... this site for example!

Seriously, a side-scrolling overlay advert, El Reg?

Your only excuse is that it's a filtering challenge to get rid of readers who aren't technically competent enough to disable/get around it.

And that's the thing with obnoxious advertising, they get all the reasonable ones blocked too by default. I dare say the advertisers don't give a damn, but the websites who rely on the income should.

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Coat

A side-scrolling overlay advert?

Whazzat?

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Meh

security first

Regardless of the outcome for adblock, I'm pretty sure this trick was used by some dodgy app to redirect me to unwanted sites from time to time. So a hole plugged is always a good thing.

That said, maybe they should provide an alternate (safe) way, but it probably goes against the very basics of how Google and many app creators work. The ads pay the developers of the apps AND of android.

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Re: security first

It should be another permission, not just knocked on the head.

Permissions need an overhaul by the way, you should have control over each permission that the app wants (Blackberry style).

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Re: security first

Which goes a bit beyond the mandate of security update. Which should focus on securing the OS not on adding new bells and whistles.

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Meh

Root phone. Install hosts-based ad blocking instead.

Probably less than 8 steps and works for all browsers and all other apps too.

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Yep - works for me - and it'll work for my wife too, once her Nexus 7 is out of warranty and rooted.

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Less than 8 steps to root an android phone

Those are fucking massive steps then, my phone took 4 just to get the boot loader unlocked....

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