Google takes aim at dodgy advertisers with Chrome 71

The latest version of Chrome presents a simple ultimatum to websites that employ abusive adverts: clean up your site, or it’ll block every advert.

Such a move from Chrome – a browser that’s used by nearly two-thirds of internet users –  would seriously hamper websites’ revenue streams, so the incentive to remove unscrupulous adverts will certainly be there once Chrome 71 rolls out to users worldwide.

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The question that website owners will now be worriedly asking is ‘what constitutes an abusive ad?’

Google has its own definition here. It’s fairly obvious stuff: adverts that are designed to look like chat boxes or system dialogues, auto-redirects, and malware-packed links − to name the main offenders.

If a site is reported as having abusive advertisements, then it will be given 30 days to remove the flagged ads from its site. If it doesn’t, then every ad – not just the ones deemed abusive – will be immediately blocked in Chrome.

Technically, people running Chrome don’t have to comply with this, but as the abusive-ad filtering will be enabled by default, you can’t imagine too many people rushing to opt out.

For users, it generally feels like a positive thing, although given Google is the largest online advertising network in the world, many of its rivals may raise a collective eyebrow that it gets to decide what is and isn’t a fair advertising experience.

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In any case, Google says that it believes that the filter will only impact a “small number of sites with persistent abusive experiences”.  

Along with the ad filtering, Chrome 71 brings a number of other changes: it’ll present a warning if a site tries to bill you without warning, and will mute sites that play sound automatically. Chrome 71 for desktop is available right now, and versions for Android and Chrome OS will follow in the next few weeks.

How do you feel about Chrome’s new features? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.