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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.

Go deeper

37 mins ago - Health

U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record

Expand chart
Data: COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

The United States reported 88,452 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The country confirmed 1,049 additional deaths due to the virus, and there are over 46,000 people currently being hospitalized, suggesting the U.S. is experiencing a third wave heading into the winter months.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day.
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. Sports: MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
  5. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

The norms around science and politics are cracking

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Crafting successful public health measures depends on the ability of top scientists to gather data and report their findings unrestricted to policymakers.

State of play: But concern has spiked among health experts and physicians over what they see as an assault on key science protections, particularly during a raging pandemic. And a move last week by President Trump, via an executive order, is triggering even more worries.