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Jeff Chiu / AP

Google is planning to put an ad blocker in its Chrome web browser, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. 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 some of the biggest advertising heavyweights, like Facebook, Google, Group M, Procter and Gamble and The Washington Post.

Why it matters: 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.

"It's a move that could potentially strengthen Google's already dominating position in the digital ad space," says Jakob Holm Kalkar, VP at Blackwood Seven media agency. "Google, more or less, controls the browser market and an introduction of an ad-blocking feature would therefore, by default, secure a strong position in the ad-blocking market and through that an even more dominant role in the advertising space."

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager responded on Twitter: " We will follow this new feature and it's effects closely." (It's worth noting that the E.U.'s privacy and anti-trust laws are generally stricter than the those in the U.S. and Google has struggled with them in the past. )

How Google wins:

  • More control: More than a quarter of internet users in the U.S. use ad blockers, and that number has been steadily increasing year over year, according to estimates by eMarketer. Google would rather uses use its own ad-blocking technology and have control over consumers' ad-blocking preferences, than push them to use blockers from third-parties.
  • More revenue: Roughly 88% of Google's total revenue comes from advertising. (Google will account for 40.7% of U.S. digital ad revenue this year — roughly 40% of the display market and 80% of the search market.) By restricting more publishers in the market from having their ads load through its Chrome browser, Google positions itself to make more money.
  • Continued search dominance: Google Chrome dominates search market share, with over 51% of the desktop audience using Chrome, compared to the second-largest browser, Internet Explorer, used by 17% of U.S. Internet users, according to comScore. Adding a built-in ad blocker could lure more users, who find third-party ad blocking technology difficult to navigate.

Go deeper

44 mins ago - World

Sudan's military places civilian prime minister under house arrest

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok during a 2020 news conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Photo: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sudan's civilian Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok was put under house arrest and several other ministers were also detained Monday in what appears to be a military coup in the country, per local reports.

Why it matters: The arrests of the civilian faction in the Sudanese government came a day after U.S. envoy Jeffrey Feltman met with the head of the military faction of the Sudanese government General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and warned him against staging a coup.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Saudi dissident claims MBS said he could get "poison ring" to kill king

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attending the Saudi Green Initiative Forum, via video link, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Photo: Royal Court of Saudi Arabia/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A former senior Saudi intelligence official who worked with the U.S. on counterterrorism alleged to "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed in 2014 killing the kingdom's then-monarch.

Why it matters: The claim by the exiled Saad al-Jabri, whom Saudi authorities describe as "a discredited former government official," that the crown prince, known as "MBS," allegedly said he could obtain a "ring from Russia" to carry out the attack, is one of several serious but unproven allegations he made on the CBS show.