For people outside of the Apple ecosystem, there have really only been two names in the internet browser game: Chrome and Firefox. While Microsoft has puttered around with Internet Explorer and Edge, they’ve never been a real contender in the race. Other browsers such as Opera exist, but beyond a small, niche market, they aren’t really used. It’s been Chrome or Firefox, or bust.
Lately though, Google has been doing its damndest to take itself out of the race. Back in January, Google proposed a change to Chrome that would limit the way that AdBlockers are able to work within the browser. The internet was furious at the idea (for good reason) and Google seemed to back off for a while. In late May, though, the company came back with a vengeance, announcing that they were standing by their decision to make modern ad blockers (like uBlock) inoperable on their platform, but with a catch: Those users paying for enterprise licenses wouldn’t be affected by the change.
This is a pretty blatant cash grab from Google. Their large business model is based on selling ad space to companies after all, and, as Raymond Hill, developer of uBlock explains, allowing anybody to block ads goes entirely against what makes Google the most money.
“Google’s primary business is incompatible with unimpeded content blocking.” Hill said to The Register. “Now that Google Chrome product has achieve high market share, the content blocking concerns as stated in its 10K filing are being tackled.”
What Hill is referring to at the end there is a recent SEC form filed by Google parent company Alphabet that claims ad blockers constitute a “risk” factor to the companies revenues. If they’re viewing ad blockers as a direct threat to the company’s bottom line, it is easy to see why they would go out of their way to limit their ability, or remove them entirely.
It also helps that Chrome is by far the most dominant web browser in the world. Not only is it one of the fastest, but with so many phones, Google Drive, Gmail and other Google products able to link together, the convenience factor for most people in the world outweighs any other option. Google has the world on a string, and they know it.
Now that they are finally starting to flex their proverbial muscle, though, it leaves users only two choices: pay Google for the right to block ads you don’t want to see, or switch away from them. Luckily for everyone, Firefox has been improving steadily, is now nearly as fast as Chrome is, and, hey, they aren’t taking away our ability to stop people from trying to sell useless crap to us. Maybe it’s time to suck it up and make the switch.
Caleb Edwards is a senior studying professional writing with a focus in editing and publishing. When he isn’t working or writing you can find him tending his fish, taking care of his cats and dogs or trying to find free time that he can waste (there never is any). You can follow him on Twitter @CEdwardsSam or find him at his website CalebMEdwards.com