Google has gone mad. They just removed ad-blocking apps from Play Store, including AdBlock Plus and AdFree Android.


In what can only be described as a stunning move, Google has recently pulled all ad-blocking apps from Google Play Store, the official Android app store. This includes AdBlock Plus (which allows for blocking of ads without root), AdFree Android, and AdAway.

According to an official blog post by the developers of AdBlock Plus, Google says the apps have been removed because they “interference with another service or product in an unauthorized manner”. It isn’t entirely clear which rulebook Google is looking at to justify the removal of ad-blocking apps. However, seeing as Google makes most (aka all) its money from advertising and mobile ads are the next big ad platform, one can only think Google has decided to block ads to protect its wallet. And I don’t mean Google Wallet.

Of course these apps can still be downloaded from other app stores and off the developer’s websites and then sideloaded onto Android devices. So it isn’t like you cannot block ads on Android anymore. However, the point isn’t that these apps are not longer available for Android but rather that they are no longer available on Play STore.

First Google releases an insanely expensive laptop (Chromebook Pixel), very unlike Google. Then they decide to discontinue an insanely popular RSS reader, Google Reader. Now they are looking to threaten the foundations Android has been built upon — freedom and choice — by blocking ad-blockers. Has Google gone off the deep-end? Or are they going to the dark side (aka Apple country)? Sound off in the comments below!

[Thanks Igor, via Adblock Plus blog, image via Steve Rhodes]

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  • David Roper

    [@KEv] Kev, I think Google is being run by kids, unresponsive to needs of older users. I was so tired of Android and Play store, I jumped ship two weeks ago and let T-Mobile buy my ETF contract out and got iPhones because of Google. Love them,, my wife and me. The “hole” is filling up as you spoke. My feet are now dry and happy now.

  • KEv

    Google was once something I could trust. Does the company see that hole down there… its filling up with water. Where’s the competition, its time to hop ship.

  • michael clyde

    disregard the above post… it didn’t come across near as cynical as it was supposed to..

    michael clyde

  • ben hillen

    @ realbull,
    you can put a mozilla browser on an android phone?

  • RealBull

    Screw `em. I’ll just stick with Mozilla browsers.

  • AT

    I meant Ghostery is still available.

  • AT

    I hope Google doesn’t figure out that it’s still available on the chrome store. And Ghostery.

  • [@Chuck] As if people aren’t able to go to and download the .APK file after enabling apk support on their phone. Downloaded directly from the developer’s site.

  • jayesstee

    AdBlock Plus and AdFree block ads.   Google gets its income from ads.   Only surprise, is that it took so long!

  • JonE

    I don’t do anything Google, anymore, but I’d have to say there’s money involved some how. And I’m thinkin that the impending removal of “Google Reader” some how will put money in their pocket, as well. Just my biased opinion.

  • Tom

    Play Store has already removed these from my “Library”… So a quick use of Titanium Backup to detach from market, so the Googlites won’t reclaim the apps from my phone.

    Like other liberal organizations, Google defines “freedom” on their own terms.

  • David Roper

    I remember wayyyy back when Radio Shack announced their games for the ColorComputer were uncopyable because they were all solid state and came in a plastic case. By the same afternoon, we had bought several of them, copied them to cassette and disk. For backup purposes only, you understand, of course. Never say never to a real Geek.

  • AFPhy6

    I have been running Linux and basic Firefox off a USB lately. I have forgotten how much garbage I have eliminated from my screen (and download time) by using AdBlock and other add-ons. I’m surprised people put up with such junk on their screens at all. There are many sites I simply would not ever visit.

  • Chuck

    The only surprise is that it didn’t happen sooner.Google thrives on,and profits heavily from information gathering and targeted advertising.
    That doesn’t make it suck any less though.

  • Sudip Kumar Das

    Never done this since getting an Android last year, never thought will do but now’s the time to hunt down those apk’s from the dark corner of the internet. Another one is biting the dust fairly faster, very sad.

  • Gonzo

    I think it was only a matter of time until they blocked this kind of apps… it just took longer than expected.
    I’m sure many developers complained about these apps, and once the number of individual complains reached a certain point, they had to do it…
    As long as these are still available for side-loading, I don’t see much of a problem.

  • Coyote

    My best hope, that this is just some elaborate April Fools joke.