Google has announced that Chrome 71 has left beta and is publicly rolling out for Windows, Mac, and Linux, as spotted by 9to5Google. The latest version of Google’s browser was in the works over the past few months, touting features to help fight against abusive ad experiences by blocking manipulative ad designs and showing billing warning screens.
With Chrome 71, Chrome will filter experiences on websites that fall under Google’s definition of abusive. These include web experiences that aren’t just limited to ads, such as auto-redirects that happen without any action from a user or trick-to-click experiences like a warning notification that actually leads to an ad or another website’s landing page. Sites that are reported to have abusive experiences will be given a 30-day grace period to clean up their behavior before every ad on the site is blocked.
Google has been expanding the way it tackles bad ad practices for some time. Back in 2017, it announced that Chrome 64 would prevent websites from opening pop-up ads, tabs, and automatic redirects to new pages. Separately, in 2017, Google said it planned to support the guidelines set by Better Ads Standards for what constituted a bad ad, which includes flashing, animated ads and full-screen rollover ads.
Users will have the option to turn Chrome 71’s filtering for abusive experiences on or off, but the likelihood is that most will not opt out. Google hopes that the more users upgrade and use Chrome 71, sites will be subject to better ad practices or risk losing a significant portion of revenue. Additionally, this means that Google, the company with the largest online ad network, is now the same entity making decisions about what ads to block on the most-used browser. Though Google says it anticipates this new policy will only affect a “small number of sites with persistent abusive experiences,” Google Ads is Google’s main source of revenue, which presents a potential conflict.
Along with abusive experience blocking, Chrome 71 will also present a warning about sites that try to bill you without your full consent or obfuscate a billing structure. Additionally, Chrome 71 will mute sites that play sound automatically, a change that will be welcome for most that hate auto-playing videos, but unfortunately, it has the side effect of breaking older web games.
The desktop version of Chrome 71 is available now, and versions for Android and Chrome OS will be coming in the next few weeks.