Apr 21, 2017

Google's plan to dominate online ads even more

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.

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Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship

Thomas Modly. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned Tuesday after apologizing for comments he made about Capt. Brett Crozier, who was removed when a letter he wrote pleading with the Navy to address the coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt was leaked to the press. The resignation was first reported by Politico.

Why it matters: The controversy over Crozier's removal was exacerbated after audio leaked of Modly's address to the crew, in which he said Crozier was either "too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this." After initially backing Modly's decision, President Trump said at a briefing Monday that he would "get involved."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,407,123— Total deaths: 81,103 — Total recoveries: 297,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 386,800 — Total deaths: 12,285 — Total recoveries: 20,191Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill — Senate looks to increase coronavirus relief for small businesses this week
  4. Public health latest: Testing capacity is still lagging far behind demand.
  5. World latest: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  6. Wisconsin primary in photos: Thousands gathered to cast ballots in-person during the height of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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America's food heroes

Photos: Charlie Riedel/AP (L); Brent Stirton/Getty Images

The people who grow, process and keep food stocked on shelves are doing heroic work in these conditions, often for bottom-barrel pay.

Why it matters: Millions of Americans don't have the luxury of working from home, and it's essential that food workers keep working so we can keep eating.

Go deeperArrow18 mins ago - Health