Google Chrome now integrating ads into the browser, digital riot about to ensueNovember 24, 2011 23 Email article | Print article
Don’t like ads? Not very many people do. Use an ad blocker? Cool, me too. There is one ad that I bet your ad blocker will not block (yet); and that is an ad that Google has (apparently) integrated into Google Chrome:
As you can see above, Google is displaying an ad for its Chromebook on the New Tab page in Chrome. Although the title of this post may make it sound otherwise (bait and switch for the win — sorry!), as far as I can tell this is the only ad being integrated directly into Chrome (no other ads of the kind are visible) and it looks like the ad is displayed only on the New Tab page (no other pages or websites have it). And getting rid of the ad is fairly simple: The ad automatically goes away after a few seconds, not appearing again until you re-open Chrome; and if you click the X, the ad immediately goes away and does not re-appear again — not even when you re-open Chrome.
There is no official information about this ad from Google at the time of this writing; there is no way to know if this ad is temporary (the ad seems to be aimed at holiday shoppers and could go away after the holidays) or if Google plans on introducing more ads of this type.
To summarize, there is only one ad, it is displayed on one page only, and it is very easy to get rid of. So, then, why all the fuss? It’s the principle of the matter silly. Ever since Chrome was released people have cried foul over privacy concerns (and for good reason — Google doesn’t have a stellar track record when it comes to user privacy). Integrating an ad inside its web browser is just icing on top of the cake. It doesn’t even matter if the ad participates in tracking analytics or not (I don’t know if it does or if it doesn’t — I am only being hypothetical). The public perception is that Google is showing integrated ads in its Chrome browser and that is enough to stir strong knee-jerk rational and irrational reactions. Time to Occupy Google.
Feel free to share thoughts on this matter in the comments below.