Jun 1, 2017

Google moving ahead with Chrome ad blocker

GuillermoJM via Flickr CC

Google is moving forward with an ad blocker installed in its' Chrome web browser, The Wall Street Journal reports. The company reportedly told web publishers they have "at least six months" to prepare.

Why it matters:

  • There are some big anti-trust concerns: If Google decides to move forward with implementing the technology, one of the biggest advertising-funded companies would get to decide through one of its own products which ads can be viewed. European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager responded on Twitter immediately after the first rumor of the change was announced saying: "We will follow this new feature and its effects closely."
  • Implementation will be a heavy lift: Even if publishers agree with the principle of producing less intrusive ad experiences, many aren't able/ready/equipped to transition all of their ad inventory to acceptable formats, especially given the rampant use of automatically distributed ads. Case-in-point: The site that broke this story served me a pop-up ad upon reading it that does not adhere to the Coalition's standards and would likely be blocked if the Chrome ad blocker were installed today.

How it would work: The blocker would filter out ads that are deemed intrusive based on standards that have been mapped out by a third-party group called the Coalition for Better Ads, which includes advertising heavyweights like Facebook, Google, Group M, Procter and Gamble and The Washington Post.Where it gets tough: Publishers have little choice in the matter but to adapt, as Google, along with Facebook, drives the majority of web traffic to publishers, and its Chrome browser has a 51% desktop usage rate according to comScore. Understanding this will be a challenge for publishers, WSJ reports that Google will provide a self-service tool called "Ad Experience Reports," that will alert publishers when ads that don't adhere to the Coalition's standards appear on their sites and will explain how to fix problems with those ads.

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South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,446 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

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Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

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Heat wave melts 20% of snow cover from Antarctic island in days

The effects of February's record heat wave on Eagle Island in Antarctica. Photo: NASA

Antarctica's Eagle Island now has a side that's almost ice-free following this month's searing heat wave in the region, images released by NASA show.

Why it maters: "The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers," NASA said in its report. It's the third major melt event of the 2019-2020 Southern Hemisphere summer, following warm spells in January and last November, according to the United Nation's World Meteorological Organization (WMO).