Several days ago, Samsung had updated its own browser for mobile devices, the Samsung Internet Browser, by starting to roll out support for ad blocking. This quickly created a sort of domino effect in which various third party developers began to launch their own ad blocking mobile apps that also work with Samsung’s mobile browser. But apparently, these ad blocking apps are now being removed by Google from the Google Play store, with their updates being refused. It looks like the search giant does not like ad blocking software to be included in Google Play as standalone mobile apps.
For those who haven’t heard, Samsung deploying an ad blocking service in its mobile Internet Browser. The feature actually functions similarly to Apple’s support for ad blocking for its own web browser Safari, which came with the launch of iOS 9, the newest version of the iPhone maker’s iOS mobile operating system. Samsung’s feature was rolled out by way of a new Content Blocker extension application program interface (API), which let third party developers create mobile apps that provide not only ad blocking capabilities, but also content blocking functionalities as well (quite useful in ensuring that web pages load faster when viewed on mobile devices).
It appears that Google, whose business also involves advertising, is not too enthusiastic about all these ad blocking software, and is doing something about it. One of the early casualties as Adblock Fast. This app became the number one free app in the Productivity category, but has now been removed altogether from the Google Play store. The developers were informed by Google that their app was in violation of Section 4.4 of the Android Developer Distribution Agreement. Quite a bummer, for sure, considering that the app was actually beginning to rack up installs (about 50,000 by the time it was removed).
Interestingly, other ad blocking mobile apps are still present in Google Play, but perhaps not for long. The Crystal app was trying to submit an update but was promptly declined by Google, citing the Section 4.4 mentioned earlier. Another app, Adblock Plus (Samsung Browser), has remained unscathed, but it may have helped that its developers have not tried to submit an update yet. It is true that refusing an update is not the same as removing it from Google Play, but the effect is the same essentially. As for Google, it continues to insist that its policies are designed for the best interests of all users and developers alike. For the developers of Adblock Fast, it sure does not feel that way.
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