back to article Browser trust test: Would you let Chrome block ads? Or Firefox share and encrypt files?

Google and Mozilla have each revealed significant new features in their respective browsers. Chrome has gained its long-foreshadowed ad-blocker that Google swears on a stack of bibles will only excise ads that get in your face in unpleasant ways. Reputable publishers, including El Reg, go to considerable length to ensure that …

  1. Simon Ward

    No and no.

    Respectively.

    Hell, I'm not even sure if I can trust the average browser to display web pages any more ...

    1. jake Silver badge

      Add me to the above sentiment.

      I'm not sure what the devs are thinking.

      (Actually, I'm pretty sure I do know, and that's why I don't want it.)

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Add me to the above sentiment.

        remember when they *FELT* we wanted THIS?

        The 'Australis' makeover. Yes, it has a name.

        The millenial elitist academic-arrogant 4"-ers [ref to screen size, i.e. everything on a 4" phone, otherwise would be 1"-ers] "feel" that we ALL want their RAPED-UP user interface, with it's "hamburger" menu and 2D flatness. These are the same *TYPE* of people behind Windows "Ape" and Win-10-nic, Gnome 3, and systemd. Do we REALLY want *THEM* determining what "features" we want for the future?

        I say, NO!

        Let's make the browser display web pages efficiently, clean up its unused memory properly, NOT crash nor stutter your computer system if it's left running with 43 tabs open on multiple windows for more than a month, and EFFICIENTLY run (and dispose of excess memory use for) javascript.

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      What "web"? Oh, you mean "Babel"...

      That's an easy one: you can't. I have to say though, for a bloke used to HTML being a more or less universally understood and rendered thing regardless of browser age, the current state of affairs - where the current ESR version is too old to display lots of pages properly and absolutely no version of any browser is capable of displaying any page without running up dozens upon dozens upon dozens of javascript errors in the console - is a bizarre situation to say the least.

    3. Robin

      "Hell, I'm not even sure if I can trust the average browser to display web pages any more ..."

      Or to have consistent dev tools. The Chrome people in particular seem to enjoy fucking about with the dev tools on a regular basis, either moving or 'improving' things.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Trust Google ? Yeah, right.

    I refuse to put Google malware on my PC ever since I experienced the unbelievable hassle of trying to get rid of Chrome whilst wanting to keep Google Earth. No dice. You have one Google product, you're getting Chrome whether you want it or not.

    As a result, I now refuse to install anything Google on my personal PC.

    On top of that, I don't want Chrome to block the whole site I want to go to because it judges that the sites' ads are intrusive. I would want Chrome to block the ads, not the site.

    So, back to NoScript and Ublock Origin, as usual.

    As for storing my downloads on someone else's server, yeah sure. Sell me a bridge also, why don't you ?

    I'll get my encryption my way, thank you. That way you cannot give the key to the NSA in their daily sweep.

    1. Fred Tourette
      Meh

      Re: Trust Google ? Yeah, right.

      Once upon a time my standard rant/retort would be along the lines of, "Google is getting to be like Microsoft, forcing the installation of This in order to run That." But these days, such behavior is more along the lines of.... Apple.

      I'll stick with my Firefox/XMarks/NoScript/AdBlock/Ghostery/Box concoction. Less convenient, perhaps, but fewer eggs in the same basket. Bridges my Lin/Win life and follows me around, so works for me. Sometimes the price of convenience is just a bit too risky for me.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trust Google's ad-blocker...

    Google are trialing auto-play videos in search results, what's more in your face and irritating than that?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Trust Google's ad-blocker...

      I often use Chrome so I will go for the pragmatic "trust but verify" approach. If it works and the result is acceptable i.e. no irritating adverts being pushed into my face, I will keep it. If I don't like it then it goes. As most non IT Chrome users never touch the settings and given Chrome's large market share this is going to be turned on for 50% of desktop users. It will modify advertisers appetite for thrusting crap in our faces.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Trust Google's ad-blocker...

        So do you not expect Google to retain tracking code on their/their advertiser's behalf? No thanks, in the words of a previous commentard "noad ublock"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Trust Google's ad-blocker...

        Perhaps it might encourage other adspewers to clean up their act, but I rather suspect that this is more a way to ensure that only Google Ads get shown, very convenient for Google, no?

        Also: trust Chromium, perhaps; trust Chrome, no way…

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Don Dumb
      WTF?

      Re: El Reg

      @Anonymous Coward - "£10 buys an automatic gold badge on the forums?"

      Which you wouldn't use because you're posting as AC?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: El Reg

        "Which you wouldn't use because you're posting as AC?"

        and which I (a different AC!) wouldn't see becuase I've got an adblock rule to block the badges .... I also block the top of story and middle of index page pictures .... I'm here to read articles and not try to second guess why someone thought a random stock photo was relevant to the story!

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: El Reg

      Has El Reg at long last banished ads that move, like for example animated gifs?

      You should tell us if&when that happens: I'd feel honour-bound to stop blocking them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: El Reg

      Reputable publishers, including El Reg, go to considerable length to ensure that advertisers with access to their properties don't do irritating

      Have you not seen your own website at times? Those flashing ones that run full page either side of the main articles are a fucking nightmare. Think they may be for HP or MS or Netapp (see how effective they are?).

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: El Reg

        "Think they may be for HP or MS or Netapp (see how effective they are?)."

        Being force to run IE11 I can confirm two tabs with those Netapp adverts can bring any machine to its knees (Before being told "beh use another browser" I cba to be whinged at for having a non standard browser again).

    4. Mark 110

      Re: El Reg

      "though I don't know how that'd be discernbile from a scummy-second-class-commentard silver one..."

      It could pop up a video at random intervals maybe?

    5. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: El Reg

      " £10 buys an automatic gold badge on the forums"

      I don't think that's what those are for. Maybe you could try buying a Merc or a backyard pool instead...

      " I also block the top of story and middle of index page pictures"

      Oh, a kindred spirit! Hello there! Although I do block _all_ images wholesale, along with any articles tagged with "DevOps", "Storage", "Docker" (is it even still a thing?) and a bunch of other keywords from a list...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love ads

    Ads that are vaguely relevant to me, for products / services that are available where I live, from companies I can trust.

    So in other words, I hate 99.999% of ads I see.

    Also El Reg, last time I turned off ad-block on your site, I got inane meaningless autostart videos from IBM in the middle of stories. You mean you've stopped that BS and I should try turning the blocker off now?

    1. Mark 110

      Re: I love ads

      They have stopped that stuff. Theres some background stuff either side - usually not animated.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I love ads

        Cool! Ok! Adblocker off.. and so far, Reg is looking pretty good.. thanks!

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

          Re: I love ads

          hmm that's odd I can see a square advert to the right of this comment that is so small I have no idea what it is trying to sell.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I love ads

            Well, to the right of your comment I'm seeing a changing series of individually animated adds. Of varying sizes.

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    When it comes to the FF file encrypt and share feature, i would trust it as much as I trust other 3rd party files lockers such as Googledrive and Dropbox so it is nice to have an alternative. I don't think i would use it for mission critical stuff but handy for sending large files to people in remote locations. Will the downloader need to be also on FF to download though?

    1. Doctor Evil

      "Will the downloader need to be also on FF to download though?"

      You send a link to the recipient, so the likelihood is "no, not necessary"

  7. K Silver badge

    including El Reg

    You mean like having the whole background as a click-on advertisement?

    Sorry el-reg, your far from the worst offender, but that's the very reason I started using a blocker!

    As for trusting Google's and block, depends if it's part of the chromium base or added after!

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: including El Reg

      Yep that's also why I started blocking ads on el reg. Most of the others I could just about tolerate (auto-play vids aside, that's an instant block), but the background ad had a nasty habit of eating my cores.

      If those have gone away, I'd be more than happy to put el reg back on the whitelist

  8. deive

    "Google swears on a stack of bibles will only excise ads that get in your face in unpleasant ways." - Does this mean any ad not served via AdClick? This is a total conflict of interest situation, and should not be allowed.

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      On one hand, I do agree that what with Google being the biggest ad slinger out there, there's definitely a conflict of interest going on somewhere (unless the Chrome devs hate adverts so much, they're willing to bite the hands that pays them).

      On the other hand, this can do nothing but bad things to the online ad industry, and so should be applauded for that.

      (I'll be sticking with uBlock though)

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >(I'll be sticking with uBlock though)

        I'm guessing that rival ad-blockers will soon be out of the Chrome store.

  9. RPF

    Pi-hole will be ready, no matter what they do.

    1. TheProf
      Facepalm

      Pi-hole

      I've not used Pi-hole so I went and had a look at their web page.

      Ironically, their embedded video wouldn't run because I've disabled JavaScript.

  10. Kraggy

    I Will Disable My Ad Blocker and Privoxy ...

    ... when a web site GUARANTEES they'll never serve a malevolent ad .. I expect Hell to freeze over before I turn off my defenses.

  11. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Google's positioned its efforts as helping such publishers while not-convincingly addressing concerns that making life hard for even misbehaving rival ad-slingers looks a bit like an abuse of its market power."

    Who would have thought...?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Childcatcher

    Would you trust this man to babysit your kids ?

    Me neither.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irritating or dangerous things.

    "Reputable publishers, including El Reg, go to considerable length to ensure that advertisers with access to their properties don't do irritating or dangerous things."

    Bollocks. Turned of UBlock and reloaded. Page now takes ages to download and i see not one but two big, bloody animated ads touting Del Small Business.

    UBlock went back on

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Once uploaded you get a link you can share with someone else so they can download it."

    How does the recipient know what key decrypts it? Is it just the case of knowing the link?

  15. viscount

    The vast majority of users do not currently use ad-blockers. So this is a smart move by Google. They are hoping to head of the growth of the blockers by stripping out the massively irritating ads but leaving the fairly innocuous ones. That is where Google started remember - small simple ads on search results.

    It may or may not work, but its an interesting move to try it, especially for mobile.

  16. MrHorizontal

    I generally flip between Chrome and Firefox depending on which browser has been behaving best recently. Currently Firefox 54 has the crown for fastest and best browser. Have no problem with the Firefox transfer thingy, but 1GB is a little mean.

    Ad blocker in Chrome is a Google Gobble of Eyeo's AdBlock's 'allow some non-intrusive ads' scheme to control moar ads. What I'm most surprised by is that this hasn't launched an antitrust case against both Google and Eyeo, as this is a pretty blatant market control move.

    As for whether I stop using Ad Blockers at all? Well that would mean that ad networks have to stop serving ads themselves and only allow publishers' servers to serve them, as they have no right to my browsing history - only the publisher.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      I'd be a lot happier if FF syncing (bookmarks et al) went through my own internet server. Give me the FF sync server software or just use SCP/SSH/rsync.

      I'd be happy to add sync and share but again, I'd like it under my control, thanks.

      If FF want to introduce new features, how about a point-of-presence server which scales well? You send an email and it does a handshake then returns all the presence info for you - telephone (SIP) number, skype contact name, jabber, preferred email (for updating to a new provider)... whatever.

      What we need is services to provide independence, not yet-another-tied-to-cloud service.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        I'd be a lot happier if FF syncing (bookmarks et al) went through my own internet server. Give me the FF sync server software or just use SCP/SSH/rsync.

        AFAIK you can set up your own sync server for FF. At least, you could a couple years ago, there were instructions on how to do this.

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          Yes you still can set up your own FF sync, see Run your own Sync-1.5 Server.

  17. Wolfclaw

    Remember the days when a web browser showed content, at respectable speeds, with killing your CPU or eating up memory and didn't try to do everything. Oh how I long for Netscape Navigator :(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Must of been a different Navigator than I used, mine used to lock up and crash the pc on a regular basis.

  18. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    "Reputable publishers, including El Reg, go to considerable length to ensure that advertisers with access to their properties don't do irritating or dangerous things."

    And yet, the El Reg App, possibly the most brainlessly "designed" vexing reader application ever invented was, during its three month visit to the Stevietablet, enblazoned with adverts that broke every standard its own reporters held up as desirable.

    Flashing on and off, blatantly idiotic blither, you name it.

    Since the app was designed by idiots too* I tossed it in the "never again" bin and moved on.

    * Who designs a reader app that can't be configured for left handed use ffs?

    1. Dave559

      Re: Bah!

      You don't need a Reg app, m.theregister.co.uk is your (very good, lightweight) friend (although it would be better if instead the main Reg website was appropriately device responsive, as sometimes you encounter hardcoded www… links on the mobile site which lead to a rather unpleasant surprise (since the rest of the URI is the same on both sites, links to other stories should not actually include the hostname part at all)).

  19. Lion

    Food Fight

    Everybody now has to purchase multiple gigs of bandwidth well beyond what is needed to perform computer maintenance, run applications or do some web surfing. The PC advertising model has significantly increased the user's operating costs to the benefit of the ISPs, Browser providers , Website owners and Operating Systems (Android, IOS and Windows 10). They are gobbling up a huge percentage of our usage allowance primarily for their benefit.

    Adblockers help to control some of the gluttony. I hazard a guess that the Adblocker extensions are definitely a target in the browser world - their existence is at the pleasure of the browser provider. Google is maneuvering around this with caution. It would be a good thing if Google blocks overly intrusive and malware laced ads (kudos if they do it), but they are not going on a diet by any means. Their addiction to junk food is keeping them fat and happy.

    Firefox in the hen house. Mozilla needs a Business-GPS that stops blurting out recalculating, recalculating, recalculating.

  20. Tikimon Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Nothing ever changes...

    Long ago in the pre-WWW era of walled garden ISPs, I was an AOL user. Pages were often all-text due to the speed of modems back then. Then AOL decided to show little icons next to every item, so each page load downloaded ten new icons. In those days, that ate lots of time on a paid-per-hour connection. Pay to download stupid little images?

    Enter ArtValve. It simply blocked the icons from downloading, saved money and made surfing bearable again. 20+ years later I'm blocking ads and scripts. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose...

  21. Cuddles Silver badge

    Doesn't seem much point

    Anyone who actually wants to block annoying adverts will continue to use an ad-blocker plugin of some variety. Anyone who doesn't do that is unlikely to even realise Chrome has the ability to do a half-arsed version built in, let alone the motivation to actually find and activate it. As long as Google don't start blocking the use of other ad blockers, at which point everyone should immediately abandon Chrome, this doesn't seem like functionality that is useful to anyone.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Doesn't seem much point

      Very useful to Google.

      Buy their ads and they will appear on sites, buy ads through anyone else and Google's ad blocker will block them. Handy having a monopoly

      1. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Doesn't seem much point

        "Buy their ads and they will appear on sites, buy ads through anyone else and Google's ad blocker will block them."

        A few people have expressed similar sentiment, but I don't see it happening. Google are already facing massive anti-trust fines from the EU, among others, for far more subtle behaviour. Blocking everyone's adverts except their own would be so incredibly blatant there's simply no possibility they could ever get away with it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Doesn't seem much point

      It's useful to me. I don't use an ad-blocker as I'm a believer in paying (appropriately) for what I consume so if a web site's revenue model needs adverts I don't turn them off. I do however believe in value for money and value my time and screenspace highly so to tolerate and use sites with intrusive adverts the site content would need to be amazing. This never seems to be the case as intrusive adverts and poor web content seem to go hand in hand. Consequently I just naturally avoid sites with intrusive adverts, which is why I'm here on The Register. If they start pushing intrusive ads then I'm gone. This development makes it far less likely that they and many other good web sites will fall to the advertisers push.

  22. petef

    I use Opera which not only has a builtin ad-blocker, there is a nifty button you can click to compare the speed of loading a page with and without ads. The result for this page is 9s with and 3s without ads. So how tempted am I to whitelist this site?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yep my sentiment exactly, you can see how shit a website looks with ads, what it looks like without and how much page loading time they ad.

      There is no hiding , opera browser tells you all this in its adblock URL badge icon.

      This site is pretty bad, a 7 out of 10 (10 being the worst).

  23. Slow Dog
    FAIL

    No trust given.

    I do not trust Google to block ads since they are an ad slinger and any blocking they do is censorship based on monopolistic behavior by a corporate monster who is not a friend to anyone.

    I do not trust FF to send and share files in a cloud space. It is just too easy to hijack that type of connection when it is active, allowing a middle man attack without detection until it is too late.

    I will not turn off my security because ad slingers insist on being the most annoying and repugnant jerks they can be. When advertisers and their agencies are willing to respect my privacy, online time, and cost of operation, I will be glad to share my machine with them.

    However, as long as they think their content is more important than what I actually want to see, and keep jamming my world uninvited and unwanted, not to mention selling me out while doing so, they will have no place on my screen. Yes, it is really my gear. I determine what is displayed.

    If I choose to block ads, it is because the folks who made or sell them do not consider that they might be pissing off folks a little. When they see the blocks, they should take a hint and fix things. But then, that would mean the raises planned for the nephew in the back would be on hold...

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