In a report from February, it was found that Google stands to make about $20 billion in mobile search advertising by 2016. That won’t happen if more people start using ad block software on their mobile devices.
Till Faida, creator of Adblock Plus, says that Google removed his app from the Google Play store due to “interference with another service or product in an unauthorized manner.” In other words, Google didn’t like that Adblock Plus was removing ads from mobile apps.
Adblock Plus wasn’t the only ad blocking software to be removed from the Google Play store. Venture Beat reports that pretty much all ad blockers have been removed from Google Play. A search for ad block on Google Play now only returns apps that block push notifications, not in-app ads.
The move is likely to make some Android users unhappy, but there are plenty of reasons to be unhappy at Google this week. Adblock Plus’ Faida told Venture Beat that it’s no coincidence. He believes that Google took down Adblock Plus when everybody was still fuming about Google Reader so nobody would make a stink out of it. He feels that Google will use the lack of outrage over its removal from Google Play to remove Adblock Plus from Chrome as well, despite it being one of the most popular add-ons for the browser.
Ad blocking is a complicated subject. Many mobile services are free, but they’re only free thanks to support from ad revenue. These services might start to cost money if they can’t bring in that ad revenue. It’s also true, however, that mobile ads are obnoxious and generally unwelcome. Google, app developers, advertisers and consumers need to come together to find a way to make advertising work for everyone.
Oh, and if you used Adblock Plus on Android, you’ll still get updates. The team is now working on a version of the app that delivers automatic updates from within the app, and it’s still available from their Web site. It will take a few more steps to install, but it shouldn’t be a big deal for those who don’t want to see ads.