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back to article AdBlock Plus BLOCKED from Google Play

Google has zapped the Android app version of AdBlock Plus from its Play store. The ad giant has also kyboshed other ad-blocking applications from its online shop. Adblock Plus revealed the Chocolate Factory's snub in a blog post: In a rather surprising move, Google removed Adblock Plus and other ad blocking apps from the …

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WTF?

More adverts, everywhere.

Or else we do evil.

Use APK extract the AdBlock plus app or get AdBlock plus direct and sideload it.

If Google continue down this forced adverts path it's AOSP for me and FU to Google.

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Re: More adverts, everywhere.

Ad revenues must be down

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

You know the only reason Android exists is so Google can harvest all your personal data and browsing habits while feeding you delicious adverts right?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

It has another function: replacing the Streetview WiFi grabber (a fact Google actually admitted when pressured).

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

@El Presidente

Please, FFS grow up and stop using the word "evil" for anything you don't like. Maybe when you spend hundreds of billions of dollars building a platform you can decide to just give it away from the goodness of your heart, until then you'll have to continue being a whiney little bitch.

Just install it the regular way and stop acting all offended they don't allow apps which block their revenue stream in their own app store.

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Facepalm

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

"Just install it the regular way and stop acting all offended they don't allow apps which block their revenue stream in their own app store."

No. Never.

Since when did exercising a choice make anyone a whiney [sic] little bitch?

@AC

"You know the only reason Android exists is so Google can harvest all your personal data and browsing habits while feeding you delicious adverts right?"

You know the only reason AblockPlus exists is so Google can harvest all your personal data and browsing habits while blocking the highly intrusive adverts right?

Dunno which is worse, Apple Fanbois or Google Astroturfers.

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Bronze badge

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

The term "sideload" amuses me when refers to Android as it actually allows you to install software from elsewhere (as long as you tick a box buried in the settings).

I always thought sideloading was used in relation to the installation of software, via an undocumented method/hack, on devices which don't specifically allow the installation of software from places other than their own app store.

Anyway, can't see the point of apps like AdBlock taking up CPU time and consuming precious elecktrickery when a perfectly good, and frequently updated, hosts file does exactly the same job with either none or very, very little extra overhead.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

"From the goodness of your heart?"

Sorry, I hadn't realised Google spent all that time and money building Android from the goodness of their heart. I don't recall them ever saying that, but the sure did spout on about how the platform was all about being open, ideologically free and different from all the others who just wanted your money.

You don't consider Google in spirit now (and in fact later) are now backtracking on that ethos having pulled in hundreds of millions of suckers?

And while we're about it, El Presesidente didn't start spouting this "evil" shit - no that was Google at their pretentious best..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

The funny thing is I had to turn Wifi off otherwise the crap Android phone's battery wouldn't even last the day.

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Bronze badge

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

@JDX - When a company proudly proclaims that their mantra to be "Do No Evil", they openly invite comparisons of evil to their actions - especially this one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

Lack of choice is 'evil', it is ecosystem fascism where you are forced to do what the OS dictator says.

Google have let power go to their heads, they'll screw up Android at this rate.

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Silver badge

Re: Since when did exercising a choice make anyone a whiney [sic] little bitch?

When they decide to whine like a little bitch?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

Erm, they went to great lengths to point out the advantages of the open source model. Then go and totally undermine that by:

1. not providing the source until after release.

2. Starting to lock down the platform with moves like this.

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Thumb Down

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

@ Shades = "Anyway, can't see the point of apps like AdBlock taking up CPU time and consuming precious elecktrickery when a perfectly good, and frequently updated, hosts file does exactly the same job with either none or very, very little extra overhead."

It doesn't do the same job though. With hosts you block an entire host, not just the resources you don't want your browser to grab.

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Stop

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

Am I a whiney bitch, or is it a cse of...

Adverts:

I don't want to see them.

I don't want to click on them.

I don't want them to pop up so I might accidentally click on them which might send me god-knows-where, potentially to a malicious site.

I'm not going to buy whatever they're touting, so why force them on me if I make the choice that I don't want them?

I understand that it is Google's business model to sell advertising space to third parties. Good on them, they've done well out of it, but I still think I should have the choice to not have information about me sold to others without my explicit consent.

And by the way, many people consider most forms of advertising to be 'evil' due to the fact that they are designed to be deliverately manipulative (the whole point is to influence you to buy something you otherwise wouldn't). They use psychologically tricks to influence you against your will. The same tricks that if someone used them on people to influence them into, for instance, having sex with them, would be considered evil by a lot more people. The fact that advertising may be a necessary evil in order to fund the internet doesn;t subtract from its evilness, but merely highlights how we don't live in a black-and-white world, and such terms are relative.

So, don't patronise us and tell us to grow up for lamenting the removal of the option to exercise choice.

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Silver badge

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

>The funny thing is I had to turn Wifi off otherwise the crap Android phone's battery wouldn't even last the day.

Upgrade to ICS if you can, and you will find 'battery saver mode' that turns off Wifi and background data when the phone is in standby. It certainly solved the major gripe RegHardware had with the Sony Xperia P when they reviewed it with its original Android version.

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Mushroom

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

Screw google, I'm going to install this anyway now.

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Facepalm

Re: More adverts, everywhere. @JDX

As opposed to me having to read your "whiney little bitch" reply to El Presidente then

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Bronze badge

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

@Loyal Commenter I understand that it is Google's business model to sell advertising space to third parties. Good on them, they've done well out of it, but I still think I should have the choice to not have information about me sold to others without my explicit consent.

You have that choice. Don't use services with adverts. It's that easy.

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Megaphone

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

"You have that choice. Don't use services with adverts. It's that easy."

ABP users often ignore this though and try to spin it in a way that they are entitled to access the content on their terms. One of the excuses that crop up time and time again is 'I pay for internet access, why should I have to watch adverts?', I don't feel I need to point out the gaping hole in this argument. Frankly I consider the use of ABP parasitic and attempts to justify its use arrogant.

P.S. no, I don't make money from any services even remotely connected with advertising before someone tries to pull that one.

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Big Brother

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

That's why I use AdAway which does just that. Sadly it too appears to be gone from the Market.

I'll have to be sure to backup that .apk, along with Adobe Flash for future use.

Outta intrest isn't ABP a Firefox Plug-in? Or did the ever make an Android wide version.

I'm not even sure I ever used it on the Android version of Firefox. I can somewhat recall that long ago that Dolphin Browser had a badly broken ABP Plug-in for their Browser. Although the promised to fix it. They never did. Makes ya wonder why? then quietly let it die.

If AdAway only has One drawback to it, its that you need to reboot your phone after each update. (As to presumably load up the new Hosts.conf File to Memory I guess). I forget if the Phone also has to be rooted for it to work. My first guess would be yes it does. But, thats One of the many reasons WHY I rooted the thing to begin with,

Google can watch someone else!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

"Sorry, I hadn't realised Google spent all that time and money building Android from the goodness of their heart"

Me either, it looked for all the world like google appropriated a bunch of code from students and out of work IT pro's who should be getting paid, spent a bit of cash patching it up a bit to dress it up as their own work and then abused their dominance to destroy the mobile OS market...

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Thumb Down

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

frequently updated, hosts file

Maybe you don't consider your time valuable but I consider mine to be. I have better things to do than keep updating an obscure configuration file. Computers are supposed to relieve us of drudgery and mindless tasks, not create new boring tasks for us.

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

>>sure did spout on about how the platform was all about being open

Is their app store part of the Android platform though?

>>When a company proudly proclaims that their mantra to be "Do No Evil", they openly invite comparisons of evil to their actions - especially this one.

If you think a company trying to make money is "evil", then I suppose you're right. It's pretty clear their mantra was about not having closed standards, using their position of power to crush opposition, etc. Not having restrictions on what can be sold in their own appstore WHEN THEY ALLOW OTHER APPSTORES AND LET YOU INSTALL APPS DIRECTLY.

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Re: More adverts, everywhere.

I have no problems with simple advertising, but I will never accept Flash ads (on the desktop); HTML5 ads that bounce around, play audio, play video, or otherwise distract me from what I'm trying to do and drain battery life; or ads that take up a significant portion of the display area and hinder my ability to do work. I'm fine with simple text ads like Google's or plain graphics.

At least in Firefox, AdBlock Plus even displays non-intrusive ads by default. Furthermore depending on the lists you download or rules you create, you can block only tracking syndicates, again such as Google, and take an active part in protecting your own privacy. Call me arrogant if you like, but I like being able to determine what information I divulge about myself and to whom I divulge it.

AdBlock Plus itself isn't any more parasitic than a computer or the Internet itself for enabling users to be able to do something. What the user often does with it is what you deem parasitic behavior, but that's not the tool's fault, especially since it does actually try to allow non-intrusive advertising by default. Furthermore, I try to only use services that only use advertising I deem acceptable.

I'm edging away from Skype now because of the intrusive ads Microsoft is starting to push during calls. I'll stop using any service that starts shoving advertising down my throat in the most obnoxious way they can. Meanwhile I'll pick up other publications or opt to receive advertisements from certain companies just to look at the ads.

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@AndrueC

AdAway does exactly that and does it automatically. It even allows for whitelists of websites to allow explicitly in your hosts file. It used to be on the Play Store, but it's open source and still available from Google Code for the meantime or from their recommended repository F-Droid, a repository of free software (FOSS) for Android.

http://code.google.com/p/ad-away/ <- AdAway's homepage

http://f-droid.org/ <- F-Droid's homepage

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Thumb Down

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

GBL Initialiser, I supposed you've never muted the volume on your TV nor changed the channel when an ad appeared?

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Anonymous Coward

@Fogcat - Re: More adverts, everywhere.

No, ad revenues are not down but they don't grow as fast as they were used to.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC13:00GMT - Re: More adverts, everywhere.

Sorry I'll have to bring you back to the real world but actually user lock-in is good for business. Consumer and end-user freedoms prevent companies for making cash. Try to grasp the concepts of "steady revenue stream" and "average revenue per user" and you will see that a free consumer is a bad consumer and has to be coerced by any technical and / or legal means available.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 13:01GMT - Re: More adverts, everywhere.

You're confusing open source software with free and open source software.

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Anonymous Coward

@Dave 126 - Re: More adverts, everywhere.

IF you can! Samsung and telcos would rather sell you another one instead of upgrading the one you have.

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Anonymous Coward

@JDX - Re: More adverts, everywhere.

Watch out with your blanket pardon for companies trying to make money. Organized crime is doing just like that, trying to make money. What could you possibly see evil in that ?

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Re: More adverts, everywhere.

@cybersaur

I don't watch TV. Back when I used to I didn't mute or channel hop, no. In fact advert break channel hopping bugs the hell out of me. The only time I didn't at least hear the TV adverts was if I was leaving the room to make a drink or some such.

Your analogy is somewhat flawed anyway. I'm not sure of the exact details because, as I said, I don't have any business dealings with advertising but I know there is such as thing as "cost per impression". When an advert is requested and displayed on a website it records an "impression", blocking means no request is made to get the advert so it directly costs the site owner money.

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Bronze badge

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

"Frankly I consider the use of ABP parasitic and attempts to justify its use arrogant."

While I consider attempting to force serving of ads to users who have clearly indicated a preference not to see them as attempting to defraud those paying for the ads.

Do you think if ABP fetched the ads but didn't render or hid them it would be less parasitic? Maybe it could even click on them and hide the results too.

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@GBL initialiser Re: More adverts, everywhere.

I pay for the adverts as part of the price for the things I buy. If I want not to see ads that is my choice. It is not parasitic behaviour to block them any way I see fit, especially if I would never have clicked them anyway. Your logic is flawed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

Glad I moved to Windows Phone. It just works, no reboots, no having to find a version of firmware that actually works, no spyware from Google and no Malware.

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Re: @GBL initialiser More adverts, everywhere.

@ DF11

Blocking adverts = You getting access to content you want whilst depriving the content provider of money

Dictionary definition of parasite = a person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others without giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others.

I think you will find my logic, in this particular instance, is fairly grounded in reality.

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Silver badge
Meh

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

So, don't patronise us and tell us to grow up for lamenting the removal of the option to exercise choice.

But your freedom to choose to block adverts has not been removed. It's just that the Google store has stopped stocking that app, so you have to get it from somewhere else and learn an extra trick or two to install it. To me, it's a bit like your default supermarket deciding not to stock one of your favourite products. Annoying.

If they'd made it impossible to block adverts without voiding your phone's warranty, THAT would be interfering with your freedom of choice. If they'd used cryptographic techniques so it was impossible to install anything they didn't want you to, and so they could retroactively take away something that they didn't want you to have , that would qualify as evil. Nobody could be that nasty, could they?... Oh.

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Pirate

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

"You have that choice. Don't use services with adverts. It's that easy."

Ehhmm, ads are a feature around the whole WEB on each browser and device. And the nature of the web is the idea that is open: that I can load and display HTML and mail messages the way the client (me and my software) decides. That's the internet, that's how it's designed, that's the core philosophy like for example Google's "making money without doing evil".

So when this has become all a "service" that I can choose *not* to use? What Google is doing is to *inhibit* what is normal daily usage to millions of people because it's now "their" operating system. But what it really is: flying completely in the face of their own philosophy

http://www.google.com/about/company/philosophy/

Points 1, 2,3 4, 5, and 6. And that's exactly the face of deepest evil: talk like this, act like that!

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Windows

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

"Computers are supposed to relieve us of drudgery and mindless tasks, not create new boring tasks for us."

Ha! 99% of the mindless drudgery in the world begins with sitting down in front of a computer.

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RW
Pint

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

Loyal Commenter: "I'm not going to buy whatever they're touting, so why force them on me if I make the choice that I don't want them?"

I think you just said "the Emperor has no clothes." Selling something on the internet? Forget about ads: they don't work, just as Loyal Commenter says. Instead of trying to lure visitors to your site selling crap, try setting up your site so that Google searches for the goods/services you offer return your pages. And make sure people can navigate to the item they might buy. Example: I buy a fair amount of body jewelry and have noted that some sites have very poor search facilities, while others have excellent ones. The distinction is simple: can a visitor to such a site tell within seconds if (say) you have circular barbells, made of stainless steel, internally threaded, with a 10mm thickness? Sometimes the answer is yes, it's easy to tell, but other times you can't be sure and keep wondering if you overlooked the item you are contemplating purchase of.

Meanwhile a pox on search aggregators that do nothing but clutter up Google results.

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Bronze badge

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

@JDX,

I though that my getting 9 or 10 downvotes was bad, but, your 50+ downvotes on this post, may have set the record!!!

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Bronze badge

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

This is the most important part:

With hosts you block an entire host, not just the resources you don't want your browser to grab.

When used in conjunction with Element Hiding, you can get extremely selective about what you do see, and what you don't see, even if they come from the same host.

Using a hosts file to block 'slimybigcorp.com' blocks everything; while carefully tuning Ad Block Plus to block 'slimybigcorp.com/quivering_flash_animation.flv' targets just the mentioned file. And, of cource wild cards are allowed, so blocking something like 'slimybigcorp.com/scripts/*' does what you think it ought to.

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Bronze badge

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

Or even more importantly, left the room to take a piss!!!!!

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Bronze badge

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

"..hosts you block an entire host, not just the resources you don't want your browser to grab." Like DoubleClick?

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Re: @GBL initialiser More adverts, everywhere.

It doesn't matter how po-faced your language is, your argument is still based on a subjective assumption and therefore flawed. If the model a content provider has chosen to use to fund its services and (hopefully) turn a profit is the 'paid for by advertising' one then they are effectively in competition with other sites to provide my eyes (and clicks) to their advertisers. The tired cliché is, I believe, that I am the product. In an ideal world for the advertisers my hardware, bandwidth, browsing habits and search history is used by one vendor to sell my custom to another. There is no obligation on me to provide any of those things to anyone and on the whole I choose not to. Should my actions in so blocking this behaviour cause the content provider to fail to be able to fund and/or profit from their activities then that is a failure of the ad-funded business model, not me being a parasite, no matter how you try to dress it up. There are exceptions, which is what whitelisting is for. The Reg gets this. Ars Technica (to name but one) doesn't. Hence their occasional whiny op-ed pieces saying so.

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Anonymous Coward

The reality!

You know the only reason iOS, Android and Windows exists is so Apple/Goole/Microsoft can harvest all your personal data and browsing habits while feeding you delicious adverts right?

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Re: More adverts, everywhere.

@Fatman

Anyone who has been around here for any length of time knows to pay sod all attention to down votes anyway. More often than not they are the result of either saying something mean that could hurt the feelings of a famboy's chosen company or the amount of inconvenient truth in a comment.

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Thumb Up

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

"it looked for all the world like google appropriated a bunch of code from students and out of work IT pro's who should be getting paid, spent a bit of cash patching it up a bit to dress it up as their own work and then abused their dominance to destroy the mobile OS market..."

haha!! well said that man.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: More adverts, everywhere.

I often wonder what people are going on about when they talk of adverts all over the place ... and then I realise I've been running adblock plus for the last few years.

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