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Google Removing Ad-Blockers From Play 337

Posted by samzenpus
from the ads-for-everyone dept.
SirJorgelOfBorgel writes "It appears Google has begun removing ad-blocker apps for Android from the Play store, citing breaches of the Play Store Developer Distribution Agreement. The apps would be welcome back as soon as they no longer violated the agreement, though that doesn't seem possible while keeping the apps' core functionality intact." Update: 03/18 20:06 GMT by U L : You can still easily install ad blockers using F-Droid, the Free Software only replacement for Play.
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Google Removing Ad-Blockers From Play

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  • Bad idea (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Cat_Herder_GoatRoper (2491400) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @04:39AM (#43168947)
    You did not agree to spam when purchased your Android device or did you?
  • Surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cffrost (885375) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @04:42AM (#43168957) Homepage

    World's largest ad-pusher seeks to push more ads.

  • by blarkon (1712194) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @04:47AM (#43168987)
    At least we know why they gave Android away for free - it was so they would have a route to shove mobile advertisements down our throats.
  • Re:Bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @04:57AM (#43169039) Homepage

    Uh... let's just glance at the situation:

    Google, an advertising/marketing company, puts out an OS for phones and tablets and gives it away for free and then allows users access to a repository system where free apps and games are often supplied... for free.

    I'd say it was implied.

    That said? I do not feel obligated to donate my bandwidth for free. I run AdFree which is a hosts file modifier. It's fairly effective.

    I'll just have to get updates from non-market sources.

  • by zwei2stein (782480) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:04AM (#43169087) Homepage

    Wow, you have been fed incredible amounts of FUD. Where did you get this "information"?

    None of the things you are scared of are true. All the "i would like it to work this way" are correct.

  • Oh fer... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Namarrgon (105036) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:06AM (#43169109) Homepage

    You still have a choice in phones and their operating systems, yes? What 'shoving' is taking place, exactly? Where is the 'evil' in offering another platform option?

    You don't like Android's "free + ads", go try iOS, Windows Phone, Firefox OS, Ubuntu Mobile etc. Maybe try a less-restrictive app store, or (heaven forbid) just sideload an ad-blocker. Android still offers you those choices too.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:16AM (#43169165)

    ...for now.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:18AM (#43169173)

    Probably very few.. Android isn't really locked down, so, they've simply deemed them as unsuitable for their own store. The only difference now is that you need to install an APK (which is easy to do). Or, install another App store.

    Also, Mozilla makes a large amount of funding from search royalties via Google. So, it would be somewhat hypocritical to switch to Mozilla (unless they rejected Google's money).

  • by runeghost (2509522) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:29AM (#43169219)

    I'm not exactly a power droid user, but ad-blocking is absolutely something that will push me to go look outside of the google store. Is that really what they want to do?

  • Re:Bad idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:34AM (#43169237) Journal
    Google, an advertising/marketing company, puts out an OS for phones and tablets and gives it away for free and then allows users access to a repository system where free apps and games are often supplied... for free.

    You've missed one important part of that equation...

    Yes, Google gives all that stuff away in the hopes of making money on advertising revenue. But advertising to people who really don't want it (to the point they would actively block it) costs money.

    The evil marketing firms of the world can still survive in a world with AdBlock et al... They just need to cast a more narrow net - Target those who, for whatever reason (old? stupid? Researchers studying the behavior of bottom-feeders in a shrinking ecosystem?) don't block ads - And leave the rest of us the hell alone.
  • Re:Bad idea (Score:1, Insightful)

    by _KiTA_ (241027) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:45AM (#43169271) Homepage

    The evil marketing firms of the world can still survive in a world with AdBlock et al... They just need to cast a more narrow net - Target those who, for whatever reason (old? stupid? Researchers studying the behavior of bottom-feeders in a shrinking ecosystem?) don't block ads - And leave the rest of us the hell alone.

    Wow, I've never actually SEEN someone use the Broken Window fallacy without being sarcastic. Good show, ol' bean!

  • by LordLucless (582312) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:47AM (#43169283)

    As far as is possible with app stores, it forced some choices there that I'm sure Google didn't in any way want

    If Google hadn't wanted, then they would have locked their device to their app store the same way Apple did. This decision sucks, but it only emphasises how much Google had it right when it came to Android; if Google does turn to the dark side, Android users can go somewhere else.

  • by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4&gmail,com> on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:49AM (#43169287)

    I'm gonna get modded down here for bringing Apple into this, but it is relevant and is exactly an example of why having alternative app sources is important for users. I've long held that Apple must be forced to allow apps installed from third-party sources and here is an exact reason as to why that would be beneficial. Want to install something that the vendor agrees with? You can do it with Android thanks to the Amazon store, F-droid, and the like. And in all honesty, it's somewhat fair of Google to do this - if they've put up the Play Store, then they should have the right to determine what gets sold on it.

    But the problem with Apple and the Iphone ecosystem is that you don't have any such choice - once you buy an Iphone, you do what Apple tells you and that's the end of the story, until you go to the lengths of exploiting the operating system to install what you like. And I don't want to hear that it's not a problem because Apple doesn't have a monopoly, which should somehow enable them to impose their decisions on their customers. We've seen such a backlash in the US over the people's right to unlock their phone's bootloader because once you buy it, it's yours. How is that different in the case of Apple forcing you to install only apps that they approve of? Once you buy it, it's yours - you should be able to run whatever you want on it if you should also have the right of unlocking it and doing what you wish. And you shouldn't have to go to the lengths over exploiting the OS in order to do it.

    Regardless, I'm not an Android or Google fanboy (anymore, if I ever was one to begin with), and though they are in general better than Microsoft and Apple, they are distancing themselves from the goodness that comes from non-profit producers such as Mozilla. I'm pretty much set on dumping Android if/when I replace my phone in the next few years, and it's their vigorous policy towards advertising wiht such utter disregard for privacy that is pushing me that way. If there's one thinig I hate as a consumer, it's being treated like a sheep. Seems like FirefoxOS, Ubuntu Mobile, or crazily enough, maybe even Blackberry is the way to go.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kthreadd (1558445) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:59AM (#43169329)

    Sounds like something that should be OK on an open platform.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @06:02AM (#43169343)

    The problem with Google is the incosistant way the Play Store is policed.

    Look at e.g Snes emulators. (Snesdroid was the original yongzh did pretty much all the initial ones (He open sourced his code at some point) / Snes9xEx is from a pretty honest guy (It was removed once he never contemplated reuploading it).

    There is still loads of paid snes emulators. (Probably mostly based on the work of the above 2 people.)

    Google are not the company they once were. (I did actually believe they didn't do much evil for a while at least that negatively affected me).

  • Re:Bad idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @06:03AM (#43169361)

    I don't see how the parent is using the Broken Window fallacy. That appears to have to do with destruction, and thus the forced expenditure of resources for replacement not having a net benefit for the economy because the resources would have been spent anyway, elsewhere. The parent is talking about the preservation of resources, which would not have been spent anyway and will likely be spent elsewhere. It's about the dead opposite.

    If you're referring to google, they are seeing a lack of revenue, not a forced expenditure, which again, doesn't match the Broken Window fallacy. Ad blockers are breaking their revenue chain, not forcing more spending. They'd be the equivalent of plexiglass eroding the glazier's market.

  • Re:Bad idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @06:05AM (#43169365)

    "Yes, Google gives all that stuff away in the hopes of making money on advertising revenue. But advertising to people who really don't want it (to the point they would actively block it) costs money."

    Almost all apps have a pay-for ad-free version, and if you can afford a smartphone and a phone control, you can damn well afford to pay a buck or two for the paid version. Yes, some people are so tight-assed that they'll do anything to avoid paying a buck for an app, and such people will probably go to the effort of sideloading ad-blockers etc, but I see no reason whatsoever that Google shouldn't make it harder for the average user to block ads. Blocking ads in advertising-funded apps is essentially the same as software piracy, and there's no reason why they should make it easy. Ad blockers that only block ads in the browser might be a different story.

    And before you ask, yes, I do use an ad blocker for my desktop web browsing, however a) I do disable it on sites such as slashdot that I want to support, and that behave sensibly as far as the level and nature of advertising, and b) I don't generally have the option to pay a buck or to to get rid of the ads.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Luckyo (1726890) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @06:10AM (#43169385)

    Being "open" in no way impacts google's way to block them. You can still load these blockers from any other android store if it chooses to make them available. That is the point of OS being "open".

    Google's point here is to obviously make them as invisible as possible to minimize users that block ads. Most people won't go around other android stores or internet sites searching for software, they're fairly happy with google play.

  • In Other Words (Score:2, Insightful)

    by turkeyfish (950384) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @06:35AM (#43169499)

    You can't shop at the Play Store unless you are willing to be relentlessly bombarded with ads and your entire life's every moved tracked to improve the bottom line of Google Corporation.

    Google doesn't just make glasses. They want to own your eyeballs as well.

  • Don't be evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by czernabog (2799797) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @06:48AM (#43169565)
    Boggles my mind how some educated people still see this all-knowing mega-corporation as nice and friendly.
  • Re:Good (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @06:57AM (#43169625)

    Just the other day there were people railing against Destructoid for complaining about ad blockers. Now, apparently as long as Google is involved, it is OK to allow ads to protect developers.

    You also seem to think a lot of yourself, don't you Somersault?

  • by czernabog (2799797) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @07:06AM (#43169661)

    A corporation will do ANYTHING to defend its cashflow. Any corporation, even Google.

    It's time to drop the "even" when referring to Google.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:03AM (#43170029)

    Probably very few.. Android isn't really locked down, so, they've simply deemed them as unsuitable for their own store. The only difference now is that you need to install an APK (which is easy to do). Or, install another App store.

    Or just refuse to use apps that keep popping up obnoxious ads all the time. Google wants developers to get paid via ads, because it lines Google's pocket, too. However, a developer can, and many do, charge a fair price for their app and there aren't any ads involved.

    Personally, I believe developers should be paid for their work, so blocking ads deprive them of that. However, as the customer, if I don't like the payment method (ads), I can take my business elsewhere, and do. Developers respond to supply and demand like everybody else.

  • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheCRAIGGERS (909877) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @08:04AM (#43170035)

    All the ad blockers I know of (granted, I've not exactly researched the multitudes, so this may be wrong) require root access on your device.

    Most people don't even know what it is, or if they do, don't want to go through with the process. Worst case is they rate the app poorly because it doesn't work.

  • Re:Bad idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @09:01AM (#43170551)

    Google, an advertising/marketing company, puts out an OS for phones and tablets and gives it away for free

    Specifically, Linux. Which is the result of the freely given work of thousands of people around the world, beginning with Linus in 1991. Google uses it to run their servers, "for free". Shouldn't Google serve up ads for Linus on every page?

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