How excited is Google about the ad blocker for Chrome?
With one quick download, Google's browser will soon enable users to do something that the company can't be happy about -- block online ads.
Google Chrome, the company's recent entry into the Web browser market, will begin accepting software extensions developed by third parties, similar to what Mozilla Firefox has offered for years.
The company, which derives the vast majority of its revenue from online advertising, recently made an API tool kit available to developers that would help them create powerful extensions to Chrome.
These third-party features aren't available yet to the public, but an extension called AdSweepwill be one of the first on tap. Similar to a popular extension for Firefox, AdSweep hides advertising on Web pages.
The extension has been available since March, but Google hasn't yet cemented a way to easily install such features.
Asked for comment, Google did not directly address the issue.
"We are designing Google Chrome's extensions to be flexible enough to support all different types of features, and we are encouraged by the development that we've seen in this area so far," a Google spokesperson wrote in an e-mail.
Surely AdSweep, specifically, isn't the source of that encouragement, right?
"Put a different way, we are encouraged by the work that developers are doing as they experiment with building tools on our extensions platform," the spokesperson wrote.
Google, being an advertising company at its core, probably won't benefit from ...
... this particular extension, which, if it ever became popular, could bleed money from Google's ad revenue. After all, the wide array of free tools the company puts out couldn't exist if not for the ad revenue that supports them.
Realistically though, this probably won't be the catalyst that propels ad blockers beyond the avid Web surfer niche.
"I don't think this really puts a dent into Google's revenue," wrote AdSweep developer Charles-Andre Landemaine in an e-mail. "There are so few users of Chrome, let alone AdSweep, so the loss of revenue for Google is peanuts, really."
Still, we certainly wouldn't expect Google to shoot any sort of "there's an extension for that" commercialspromoting AdSweep.
As more companies are opening up their software for independent developers to tinker with, they should expect to encounter plenty of third-party applications that they might not want. Baby Shaker, anyone?
-- Mark Milian