As Google Ponders Making Ad Blockers Less Useful, Mozilla Ramps Up Tracker Blocking

from the competing-for-your-privacy dept

Google found itself under fire last week after critics said the company was considering weakening ad blockers on the company's Chrome browser. The changes were part of the company's broader Manifest V3 roadmap for the browser, which Google claims is being considered to improve browser performance and extension security. But consumer groups and adblock extension developers weren't buying Google's claims, and say that the changes will make adblockers less effective by prohibiting them from pre-blocking ads, instead shifting blocking determination to Chrome itself.

As it currently stands, many Chrome adblock extensions use Chrome's webRequest API, letting users block ads before they even reach the browser. But Google’s proposal would require extensions use the declarativeNetRequest API, which leaves it to the browser to decide what gets blocked based on a list of up to 30,000 rules. While extensions like AdBlock already use the latter, developers say the overall result will be tools that simply aren't quite as effective, and would erode consumer power to determine for him- or herself how stringent blocking actually is.

uBlock Origin developer Raymond Hill was rather pointed in his criticism of Google, arguing that the company embraced tougher adblockers to grow its market share, but is now weakening their functionality because it conflicts with Google's raison d'être, namely selling more behavioral ads:

“In order for Google Chrome to reach its current user base, it had to support content blockers—these are the top most popular extensions for any browser,” he said. “Google strategy has been to find the optimal point between the two goals of growing the user base of Google Chrome and preventing content blockers from harming its business.

Hill argues that the blocking ability of the webRequest API caused Google to yield some control of content blocking to third-party developers. Now that Chrome’s market share is greater, the company’s in a better position to “shift the optimal point between the two goals which benefits Google's primary business,” Hill said.

The EFF, whose adblock extension Privacy Badger will likely be impacted by these changes (should they arrive this fall), was equally pointed in its criticism of the move, arguing that weakening such tools in an era of rampant privacy and security scandals was tone-deaf on the part of Google:

“Google's claim that these new limitations are needed to improve performance is at odds with the state of the internet,” the organization said. “Sites today are bloated with trackers that consume data and slow down the user experience. Tracker blockers have improved the performance and user experience of many sites and the user experience. Why not let independent developers innovate where the Chrome team isn't?”

The EFF was quick to note that the changes could also impact parental controls and security and privacy tools. While Google continues to deny any ill-intent with the changes, that's going to be left to consumers to decide. And should Google continue down the road to making adblock extensions less effective, Mozilla seems intent to fill the void. The company this week announced it would be expanding tracker blocking by default in Firefox, as the era of seemingly-bottomless privacy scandals increasingly forces companies to actually compete (to a point) on privacy.

Filed Under: ad blockers, browsers, chrome, extensions, firefox
Companies: google, mozilla


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 5:41am

    I've never abandoned FireFox but I already showed chrome the way out. I'm not sure if the source Chromium is plagued with Google's privacy issues but since the engine is favored even by Microsoft you need to have some fall back in case FF can't handle some situation (pretty rare event) I also use Vivaldi. It's based on Chromium but it is everything Chrome should be and have been in the past. I recommend it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 7:04am

      Re:

      I use Vivaldi as well. I jumped ship when Chrome disabled using the backspace button to go back a page - a minor con figuration but very annoying for someone who's been used to doing so for years. That's after being someone who used Opera, then Phoenix (as Firefox was called way back when), then Chrome for various reasons.

      This is as it should be. Chrome are the current market leader, but there's plenty of competition and people can choose browsers depending on what is most valuable to them. The trick, as always, is how to convincing the mainstream to follow you. At least with browsers, there's precedent for people switching en masse when the competition serves them better.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 9:36am

        Re: Re:

        Backspace as a back button is a scourge on the earth and deserved to die. Never again will I lose a 20 minutes of typing or 50 minutes of working on my job application because the browser decided I wasn't typing anymore.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 11:03am

          Re: Re: Re:

          another annoyance: hitting the carriage-return/enter key to start a new paragraph will automatically submit the unfinished comment on Techdirt if the cursor happens to be resting on the subject line instead of within the comment field. (in fact, I'm submitting this comment that way)

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 2:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That has nothing to do with the browser and everything to do with website UX, specifically TechDirt's in this case.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 6:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It's a bog-standard form. I see two things they could do:

              • swap the submit and preview buttons; W3C say the first submit button is the default
              • insert a disabled invisible default button before the others

              (Or Javascript could be used for users with it enabled.)

              NB, the section starts "If the user agent supports letting the user submit a form implicitly (for example, on some platforms hitting the "enter" key while a text field is focused implicitly submits the form)". The browser vendor chose to enable this optional behavior and assign the enter key to it.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 7 Jun 2019 @ 1:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, like, that's just your opinion man... That rarely happens to me, and isn't really an issue anymore with decent caching and the like. Anyway, with anything important the rule of thumb is always to type it up in a word document or something then copy/paste. You might avoid the back button issue with the Chrome change, but you will still have to deal with session timeouts, connection drops and the like if you're on the same page for that long.

          Even so, I'd have no problem with it being disabled by default, so long as I have the option to configure the way I want it. Since the only way to do this (at the time it was first introduced, at least) was with a plugin that got disabled on the next update, I chose a different browser instead.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      MrsAngelD, 6 Jun 2019 @ 8:33am

      Re:

      Vivaldi stated, in their June 4th blog post, that they would undo whatever change made this possible. So thankfully if you're using them, as I am, It shouldn't be an issue.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 9:27am

        Re: Re:

        I wouldn't go that far. If the plugin writers lose most of their audience they may not bother to write the appropriate extensions for just Vivaldi.

        So while I'm posting from Vivaldi, the mere fact that that Google may be killing the utility of this extension in the most popular browser/store is concerning.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 12:54pm

      Re:

      I still have one case where chrome is required, Google Earth.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 7:02am

    I'm one of the ones that left Firefox back in what, 2007-2009? or so. Shortly after Chrome came out. It WAS so much better at that time.

    I also use uMatrix and it blocks EVERYTHING not from the primary domain. Sure, sorta head ache when you visit sites for the first time going thru the permissions to make sure the page works as intended, but blocking all the 3rd party tracking and images and whatnot does wonders for someone on 3MB DSL.

    Look like may be moving back

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 7:08am

    Suggestion

    Brave is a fork of Chrome/Chromium that at least in theory will be a bit less evil. The statement "You are not a product." on their home page looks promising. I read about this on Slashdot last week and am giving it a try. For a start, noscript works on Brave, but not on Chrome/Chromium (one being for Linux and the other for Windows) and all the rest of my extensions are working, such as Ghostery, uMatrix, uBlock origin, AdBlock+, HTTPS Everywhere (which is actually also in Brave's settings), etc.

    I have only been using it a week or so, and am not convinced that it will be my goto browser in the future, but with the exception of 'Translate to English' available on a right click, everything has been as expected.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 8:35am

      Re: Suggestion

      The real story here is that Slashdot is still going. I thought it died mny years ago after it became a cesspit of one-upsmanship and douchebaggery.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 10:02am

        Re: Re: Suggestion

        That might depend upon how you use Slashdot. I use an RSS reader, and only get four or five moderated comments, many of which I ignore. The stories, at least some of them, can be enlightening, when read at all.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 11:45am

      Re: Brave browser

      Unlike the increasingly matriarchal Silicon Valley tech companies, Brave is committed to the core principle of free speech, which many on the activist left are sure to interpret as a dog-whistle that says "Brave Supports Nazis" and then put their smear and deplatform machinery into high gear. (this apparently hasn't happened yet, so it seems the 'woke' have been snoozing)

      https://unhashed.com/cryptocurrency-news/brendan-eich-says-brave-wont-ban-gabs-browser-ext ension/

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        TFG, 6 Jun 2019 @ 11:56am

        Re: Re: Brave browser

        ...Matriarchal? What?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 1:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: Brave browser

          As in protecting sensitive crybabies from getting their feelings hurt. The whole "safe space" mentality is essentially matriarchal. Not unlike the way that mothers traditionally kept their sons sheltered, while fathers would teach them how to fight, and why term's like "mama's boy" are universally understood.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 3:35pm

            FYI…

            The point of safe spaces was to let the marginalized come together without having to face the kind of bullshit that makes them feel marginalized.

            The term “safe space”, in this context, refers to a space created for people who feel marginalized to meet and communicate with each other about their experiences. In the United States, some of the first safe spaces were gay bars. The website for Advocates for Youth describes a safe space as a “place where anyone can relax and be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome or challenged on account of biological sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age, or physical or mental ability; a place where the rules guard each person's self-respect, dignity and feelings and strongly encourage everyone to respect others”.

            Have some safe spaces gone “too far” in that regard? Probably. Have they all done that? Hell no. Does one safe space going “too far” mean all safe spaces and the entire concept should be mocked, scrapped, and ultimately forgotten? You tell me.

            (Incidentally, I have to wonder: For what reason are you concerned with upsetting “snowflakes” by forcing them out of their “safe spaces”?)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 5:01pm

              Re: FYI…

              "some of the first safe spaces were gay bars"

              Gay bars were never "safe spaces" as they were always open to everyone, whether gay or straight or whatever else. "Ladies Night," however, would fit the definition of Safe Space when male customers are systematically excluded, as has been traditional in male-stripper and various other 'girl-power' type events.

              This iconic photograph pretty much captures the essence of what a Safe Space is all about:

              https://www.cbsnews.com/hub/i/r/2015/11/10/5c0e6ac5-74ac-4f46-84a3-ed795a2899bc/thumbnail/120 0x630/5771b6dcacad950ccbb4e49559cbfd3a/melissaclick.jpg

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 5:47pm

                Re: Why not both...

                I love you telling the gay guy he’s wrong about gay bars. Should we call that straight-splaining? Or the old fashioned term: ignorant asshole syndrome?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 7:14pm

                Safe spaces, as originally intended, are about creating a space for amplifying the voices that fight to be heard elsewhere. They’re not, as you want to argue (in bad faith), represented by that photo.

                The way I see it, someone concerned with forcing “snowflakes” out of their “safe spaces” feels that way for one of only three reasons:

                1. Someone hates the idea of marginalized people having a space where they can feel a little safer in discussing their experiences without the people doing the marginalizing having an “opposing” voice.

                2. Someone wants to force marginalized people out of their “safe spaces” and into hurtful situations for personal enjoyment.

                3. Someone fears the idea of marginalized people having a place where they can organize as a force for change.

                So I have to ask: Which reason is yours?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 7 Jun 2019 @ 1:28am

                Re: Re: FYI…

                "Gay bars were never "safe spaces" as they were always open to everyone"

                I'd assume that in his description a "safe space" means a place where a person is not at risk of being attacked or marginalised. Not a place where other people are barred. There's a big difference. A gay bar in your description is still a "safe space" because the stated default is gay, even if straight people might occasionally venture in. The idea being that if the straight guy starts some shit, the gay person will be protected and not mobbed.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Jun 2019 @ 3:31pm

                  a "safe space" means a place where a person is not at risk of being attacked or marginalised

                  This was the original intent of the safe space concept, yes.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                nasch (profile), 7 Jun 2019 @ 8:24am

                Re: Re: FYI…

                Gay bars were never "safe spaces" as they were always open to everyone, whether gay or straight or whatever else.

                Go back and read his comment again, and try to find the part where he describes safe spaces as excluding anyone. If you can't find it, it's not because you didn't look hard enough.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 4:14pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Brave browser

            You sound like an incel.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 7:16pm

              Nah, he sounds more like your garden-variety alt-right stooge. Incels would talk more about women being evil demons who want to destroy all men with vaginal black magicks or somesuch ridiculous bullshit.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 7:51pm

                Re: Last I checked Silicon Valley was mostly old white guys

                That Venn diagram has quite a bit of overlap. I just got the incel vibe because the first thing he blamed was women, via a garbage fire of a conspiracy theory.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 7 Jun 2019 @ 8:26am

                  Re: Re: Last I checked Silicon Valley was mostly old white guys

                  True, but it is quite possible to be misogynistic without being an incel. Somehow there are quite a few men who look down on women but are also married to one.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2019 @ 2:48pm

        Re: Re: Brave browser

        /Double facepalm

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 7:09am

    Looks like I'll be ditching Chrome. maybe I'll take another look at Edge.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 7:29am

      Re:

      Edge is based on Chromium, and I'm not sure why you'd think Microsoft would have any less interest in trading in your browsing habits than Google does.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 7:28am

    I think Opera is a pretty good browser right now.

    I ditched Chrome since it became a memory-hog, bloatware-infested thing, and switched to Opera. Never looked back ever since.

    By the way, Opera has even VPN integrated into it, for free.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bear (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 1:40pm

      Re: Opera

      You should know that not only is Opera based on the Chromium engine (which is pretty much under the de-facto control of Google, as they make most of the source code commits), but that since it is owned by a Chinese firm, I would not consider its built-in VPN to be secure.

      Considering that Google exercises such tight control over the basic source code, I would not consider any browser that uses that code (for example, Brave, and others) to be immune to this.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 4:36pm

        Re: Re: Opera

        I didn't even know that it is Chinese now. I always thought it was Norwegian.

        Anyway, I still prefer it to Chrome. I had to switch to Opera because every time I started Chrome it would spawn a "Software_Reporter_Tool.exe" process that would make the hard drive churn like crazy and take a lot of memory. Never saw any browser doing that kind of bullshit before. Every time I had to CTRL+ALT+DEL and kill the process. Then I tried different hacks to make it stop forever, but at the end it would always reappear.

        Opera is lean and works well. No bloatware. Cool stuff, like mouse gestures, already built-in. Websites rendered correctly. No major bugs. Et cetera.

        I am not paid to write this. Just my experience.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 4:44pm

        Re: Re: Opera

        Out of curiosity, you're saying that any fork of Chrome/Chromium will continue to be influenced by Google? Why then does NoScript work in Brave but not Chrome or Chromium, for example? Why is there a 'New Private WIndow with Tor' available in Brave? Why does right click to translate to English not work in Brave?

        I will admit that I do not know, but am curious to understand your perspective. Got any relevant references?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Bear (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 6:03pm

          Re: Re: Re: Opera

          I am not saying that any fork of Chromium will continue to be influenced by Google. To be clear, I am "pretty sure" but not "100% sure" that any browsers that use the Chromium source code will work the same way, specifically because Chromium is essentially Google's work, at least by now. If you go look, Google makes most of the source code commits. Now I do know that anyone can fork the code and include or exclude bits as they desire. But that means that as of that fork, they commit to maintaining it, and it's extra work to exclude or include stuff that comes after it. It's not just a 1 click and done thing.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 6:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Opera

            In then end, then, it is up to Brave or other forks of Chromium or Chrome (depending on where they started) to determine whether they will follow any of Googles leads. Therefore, it would be reasonable that since Chrome/Chromium blocked NoScript but Brave doesn't that mean in at least in one sense Brave (at least, not sure about the other forks) did not follow Googles lead, at least for that issue.

            Therefore, also, future source code commits may or may not be accepted by any browser fork of (where ever or when they started) Chrome or Chromium and it would be unreasonable to assume that future Google commits will be accepted by any of the forks. Given that, wouldn't it be reasonable to judge forked browsers on their own merits rather than what Google is doing in Chrome or Chromium today?

            Opera, Edge, and Vivaldi have also been mentioned as forks from Google products, and have been considered as being independent of Google. I think the same consideration should be given to Brave, or any other browser that at least says they are trying to do the right thing. At least until we find out something different. And, unfortunately that finding out something different has been the case all too often.

            Let us wait for the evidence.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Bar, 7 Jun 2019 @ 1:03pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Opera

              Yes, the forks should be considered individually, though not just by their functions but also their social effects. Let's say Google has 100 developers working on Chrome and there are just 5 forkers for one product. The fork will inevitably hang behind on innovation as they will be dragged down by having to constantly merge upstream and deal with the conflicts. They can also opt to not merge and drift apart from upstream. The smaller team will have a very hard time competing with the development pace of upstream, I'd say it's impossible and the fork will soon be outdated and riddled with known (security) bugs.

              Vivaldi and the other forks are already in that position, though I guess they are driving the line between keeping up with upstream and doing their customizations and currently it's bearable. (Money helps of course). I imagine it could become unbearable when fighting/forking against policy decisions i.e. which are baked in the very core. Good luck unbaking the cake.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Damien, 6 Jun 2019 @ 7:33am

    This is simple: the moment Chrome actually weakens ad blockers on purpose is the moment I migrate to their competitors. It's not like there aren't other options available.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 7:34am

    Don't go touting Firefox's horn, folks. The company is also under fire for making changes to its browsers which actually weaken its strengths as a browser and more of an ad platform itself.

    While it is possible to disable many of the features, the options to do so are getting buried with every update.

    Then there's the issue of adding features no one wants, such as the drop down bar on the search bar, which is also the address bar.

    If you truly want to effectively block ads, you're going to need to set up your own ad blocking DNS server, then route your traffic through it. Block the DNS addresses you don't want (thank goodness for wildcards), and voila...no more ads regardless of browser.

    It took about 2 hours to set it up. The hardest part was configuring two systems as one is used for VPN connections, and the other for DNS routing.

    Or... you can just use a service.

    Bing is your friend here (because fuck Google).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 7:46am

      Re:

      Filtering at a DNS level is pretty shit. So is any theory that "Bing is your friend". lmao

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 11:15am

        Re: Re:

        Filtering at a DNS level is pretty shit.

        And somewhat incompatible with DNSSEC and DNS-over-HTTPS. In the long term it won't be practical.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 8:14am

      Re:

      "Don't go touting Firefox's horn, folks"

      Perfect is the enemy of the good, and companies should be lauded for the positive things they are doing. Attacking them for every decision because you don't like some other decision they made won't get you anywhere.

      "Block the DNS addresses you don't want"

      Isn't a manual blacklist rather cumbersome and inefficient?

      "(thank goodness for wildcards)"

      What happens when you need to access something on that subdomain? Do you also manually maintain a whitelist or is it a case of removing and re-adding things when you do that?

      "The hardest part was configuring two systems as one is used for VPN connections, and the other for DNS routing."

      I'm sure there was a reason for you doing that rather than using something like pi-hole in Docker.

      "Bing is your friend here (because fuck Google)."

      Why is Microsoft more of your friend than Google - especially when there's independent choices?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 8:49am

      Re:

      Bing is your friend here (because fuck Google).

      Switch from one data gathering company to another
      , yeah that works well.

      /s

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 9:02am

      Re:

      All you need to know - Pi-Hole

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 10:28am

      Re:

      Blocking ads is much easier than that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 12:08pm

      Re:

      1) Learn to use :config
      2) Pihole is a nice help; filtering for the whole house, don't have to configure each connected browser. And it is true, if you are familiar with SMB computers - about 2 hours to build including driving into town to buy a Raspberrypi and small SD.
      3) Bing and Duck Duck go still both suck wind. Try Startpage ssl.
      4) Adblock is great if you want "curated ads". I want to block, uBlock Origin is wonderful.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bear (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 1:45pm

      Re: But Firefox!

      No one here ever said that Firefox and the team behind it are or were ever perfect. Just like any other piece of software that you did not write yourself, it may have features added, removed, or changed in a way that you do not personally approve of.

      That said, I do not believe that perfect should be the enemy of good.

      At this moment in time, vs. Chrome, Firefox falls much more to the side of the consumer that values privacy of the data and privacy from ads, possible malvertising, and ad tracking.

      As much as that may or may not eventually change, I will choose Firefox for now, and I will remain vigilant.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Zof (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 9:03am

    Man, Google has fallen

    Helping trump with his fake huawei attack. Getting caught manipulating US YouTube for US Media outlets, and just the US in a 40,000 member trends survey. If your news outlet isn't one of the big three liberal outlets, you don't even trend on Google in the US.

    Now this crap. I stuck with Google for the longest time because even if the polish wasn't always there, they were clearly more ethical than Apple. Now they aren't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 9:20am

      Re: Man, Google has fallen

      lol

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 9:24am

      Re: Man, Google has fallen

      "If your news outlet isn't one of the big three liberal outlets, you don't even trend on Google in the US."

      In my experience, you can usually tell if someone's opinion is useless when they start whining about the supposed political leanings of sites rather than address the content of the article.

      Even if true, so what? Current top story on Google News at I check right now about an accident at West Point - CNN are indeed first, followed by Fox then Reuters. Does the fact that you're not being pandered to in the first story make the facts any less pertinent?

      Then again, if you don't use them and have retreated to somewhere that panders to you, why do you care if other people find whatever bias Google supposedly has preferable? it's a free market, exercise your choice and let others exercise theirs.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        James Burkhardt (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 9:39am

        Re: Re: Man, Google has fallen

        I genuinely love how you just brush over the fact that the top 3 results includes the very non-liberal Fox News.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Zof (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 10:38am

        Re: Re: Man, Google has fallen

        Why are you trying to defend trash? It just makes you look like trash. You clearly don't know about the 40,000 member survey. It shows that in the US, Google manipulates YouTube to screw over their own content providers, and gives terrible channels like CNN on Youtube, which might get 3k views per post, priority over the people that made YouTube what it is today.

        But be a little child and launch a childish personal attack me and my perceive politics (which I didn't even mention genius). We see how pathetic you are. Just like Google.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 12:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: Man, Google has fallen

          The main reason is that you asserted Google has a liberal bias because of (certain action), and he provided another action that argued against it. While Google does promote big media channels like CNN, they aren't doing it because of bias, but because they are relatively advertiser friendly and generate high engagement (more engagement = more ads watched). As for the Huawei thing, Google has to follow the blacklisting or else risk getting fined.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 7 Jun 2019 @ 1:42am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Man, Google has fallen

            Generally speaking, the reason why YouTube seems to have a bias is because the US is skewed to the right politically, as a whole. Therefore the fringe right-wing material has large viewership than the left-wing nutjobs. Therefore, when they shut down objectionable content, the right-leaning stuff has more viewers than the left.

            As I often say, if channels you frequent are being shut down when they purge for white supremacist and Nazi content, you should not be asking why you are being attacked on the right. You should be asking why you are so politically associated with white supremacist and Nazis.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 12:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: Man, Google has fallen

          YouTube has made a conscious business decision to slowly choke out the "man on the street" content producers and promote Hollywood and mainstream media corporations, as that's (potentially) much more money and much less hassle.

          Many online companies are now going in this direction. Rotten Tomatoes recently eliminated it's Audience Score and "Want to See" sections (except for people who buy tickets from them) because, let's face it, allowing people the freedom to thumb-down multi-million dollar films is bad for business.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 7 Jun 2019 @ 1:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Man, Google has fallen

            "that's (potentially) much more money and much less hassle."

            It possibly is, as most media corporations aren't going to be live-streaming school shootings and posting white supremacist recruiting videos. people who wish to do that have plenty of competition to go to over to, and they are also free to set up their own.

            "allowing people the freedom to thumb-down multi-million dollar films is bad for business"

            Allowing people to do that is fine. Allowing widespread attack campaigns on the movie before it's even been released is not. They still allow negative comments, you just have to be likely to have seen the movie before you comment, which is as it should be.

            Blame the trolls if you don't like the restrictions, not the people finally doing something about MRAs incels attacking movies for daring to star women in heroic roles.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 7 Jun 2019 @ 8:36am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Man, Google has fallen

            I think what Zof is talking about is this:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDqBeXJ8Zx8

            It has nothing to do with liberal or conservative, it's about established big business outlets like CNN and Fox News, vs. independent content creators. It's actually quite interesting.

            Many online companies are now going in this direction. Rotten Tomatoes recently eliminated it's Audience Score and "Want to See" sections (except for people who buy tickets from them) because, let's face it, allowing people the freedom to thumb-down multi-million dollar films is bad for business.

            Well yes. Allowing low quality reviews and ratings (which they are certain to be if the person has not seen the movie) is going to reduce the usefulness of the site, which is bad for business.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2019 @ 2:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Man, Google has fallen

            You can browse and search YouTube. If you are every expecting algorithms (or some corporation's bias, if you will) to find you what you want on their landing page, you're a damned tool.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 12:54pm

          Re: Kneel before zof

          “We see how pathetic you are.”

          You got a mouse in your pocket?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 7 Jun 2019 @ 1:35am

          Re: Re: Re: Man, Google has fallen

          So, whiny little conservative botch who can't stand that other have different opinions, and has to play a team game when presented with news? Thought so.

          "You clearly don't know about the 40,000 member survey"

          I do and it is concerning. If anyone with an actual argument wishes to discuss it, I'm all ears. I just don't play partisan games with children.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 9:43am

      Re: Man, Google has fallen

      If your news outlet isn't one of the big three liberal outlets, you don't even trend on Google in the US.

      Perhaps because liberals outnumber conservatives on the internet by a wide margin. All kinds of inferences to draw from that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 10:32am

        Re: Re: Man, Google has fallen

        Reality has a liberal bias.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        icon
        Zof (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 10:40am

        Re: Re: Man, Google has fallen

        I think it's possible liberals have a mental disorder where they imagine themselves a majority. I see plenty of evidence of that dunning-kruger hilarity. They aren't. Not in any measurable way, but they pretend they are. I think that's the main reason they act so surprised when they lose everything.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 3:07pm

          "liberal" mental disorder

          I think it's possible liberals have a mental disorder where they imagine themselves a majority. I see plenty of evidence of that dunning-kruger hilarity. They aren't. Not in any measurable way, but they pretend they are. I think that's the main reason they act so surprised when they lose everything.

          I think you're confusing "Liberals" (who are free-speech anti-authoritarians) with the far-left Progressives (who are anti-free-speech authoritarians) who have basically taken over the Democratic party. Even presidential frontrunner Joe Biden has decided to alienate his large blue-collar voter base, who generally disdain environmentalism, by pandering to the far-left hard-core environmentalists who have so far rejected Biden in favor of extreme-left candidates. And since Biden was born the wrong race/sex/sexual-orientation to appeal to the identity-politics worshipping far-left, all he can do is out-promise the most audacious promises, such as those of celebrated moron Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. If Joe Biden is really serious about spending five trillion dollars of American taxpayer money in the quest for green energy, then he's the one who needs to have his head examined.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 3:40pm

            If Joe Biden is really serious about spending five trillion dollars of American taxpayer money in the quest for green energy, then he's the one who needs to have his head examined.

            If you think the United States can’t come up with five trillion dollars, you need to have your head examined. You also need to ask yourself if taxing the rich is an option you never considered — and if the answer is “yes”, perhaps ask yourself why.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2019 @ 6:52am

              Re:

              Never mind the question "does the public sector need to provide every last drop of that bill?" (The answer is "no", by the way.)

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 5:53pm

            Re: Luckily right wing nut jobs are still right wing nut jobs

            “I think you're confusing "Liberals" (who are free-speech anti-authoritarians) with the far-left Progressives (who are anti-free-speech authoritarians) who have basically taken over the Democratic party.”

            I’d like a side of Ranch with that word salad please.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 7 Jun 2019 @ 6:51am

            Re: "liberal" mental disorder

            Two things:

            1. We'll have to spend some serious money at some point in the future because the oil barrel will turn up empty sooner or later. So why should we keep postponing it until we go to fetch a drink and find it empty, much to our anguish, dismay, and impotent rage, instead of working to address the issue now while we still have a chance of weaning the economy before the "out of oil" brick wall hits?

            2. Keep in mind that it was the far-left greenie-weenie crowd that got the EBR-II project defunded...so perhaps we're reaping what we sowed in that regard? (We'd have been much better off on the alternatives-to-burning-fossil-fuels front by now had that project continued unhindered...)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2019 @ 3:04pm

            Re: "liberal" mental disorder

            They have taken over the Democratic Party? LMFAO, right. The Party is as fake-left as it ever was. The right just keeps moving farther right into bizarro-land, and the "centrist" Dems keep moving with it, just not fast enough for what passes for "conservatives" these days.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 5:49pm

          Re: I think I can project the answer

          Why is it the biggest Dunning–Kruger victims are always the first ones to mention it about other people?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      TKnarr (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 9:45am

      Re: Man, Google has fallen

      "If your news outlet isn't one of the big three liberal outlets, you don't even trend on Google in the US."

      Perhaps this is less an indication of the leanings of the outlets and more an indication of the leanings of the population they're serving.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 12:52pm

      Re: Man, Google has fallen

      Why you still here bro?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 9:51am

    dem duckets

    For Google it's all about that ad revenue.
    "Now...how to monetize cookies...?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Cvnk (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 10:18am

    Would a proxy filter be as effective at ad and JavaScript blocking as a browser hosted solution? I remember using Proxomitron for a long time to clean up web browsing and it seemed quite effective but that was many years ago before browsers and the web in general got as complex as it is now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 2:21pm

      Re:

      Yes. Ad blocker plugins for browser are effectively proxies so yes, an external proxy would work just as well. Are there any that have an active force behind them that constantly updates the URL filter list so such a proxy can stay up to date?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 11:00am

    I thought Admiral was making ad-blockers less useful nowadays.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 11:14am

    I Googled Chrome replacements, and Google suggested Chromium-based.

    I Googled non-Chromium Chrome replacements, and Google suggested Tor.

    I used Chrome to download Tor, and the cops showed up at my door. Since I live in Pittsburgh, a border city where the Constitution doesn't apply, and, as any cop will tell you only criminals use Tor, I've no recourse. See ya in 50-75 years.

    Disclaimer: That last part isn't completely true. Important stuff gets done on Firefox. Chrome is only for the cruft I don't mind or want Google knowing. I would never download Tor using Chrome.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 12:15pm

      Re:

      The funniest part of that is that Google search does not work using TOR. You will be blocked.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 12:46pm

        Re: Re:

        The thought of using Google search on Tor never occurred to me. That would be the equivalent of filling fire extinguishers with gasoline, something no one in their right mind would consider.

        Not that I'm claiming my mind is right.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 1:11pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Using Google via Tor is more like putting on your fire gear before running into a burning building. Better not to run into the building at all, but if you've gotta do it, better protect yourself.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2019 @ 1:08pm

        Re: Re:

        Replace "funniest" with "most telling". Google like to make claims of user control, but you see what happens to those who try to take control of their privacy. Some Google services work fine, but not search.

        (Bing works fine. DuckDuckGo even provide a .onion address; search DDG for "duckduckgo onion".)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wallyb132 (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 11:52am

    This sounds like a case of unjust enrichment. I can imagine this will spawn at least a few lawsuits.

    I've always used firefox. however i've been using chrome for google voice lately, only because the plugin for firefos has stopped working .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 2:51pm

      Re:

      This sounds like a case of unjust enrichment. I can imagine this will spawn at least a few lawsuits.

      Perhaps, but I think Google's got a pretty good hand to play here. They're going to claim that they've had problems with malicious extensions (they have), the API they're deprecating is a possible vector for malicious extensions (it is), and that deprecating the API will make the browser more secure (debatable). It may be difficult to get an antitrust conviction based on that justification, though I'm not saying it will be impossible.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 6 Jun 2019 @ 3:48pm

    Now that's some effective marketing... for non-Chrome browsers

    Nothing like planning to make ad-blockers less useful on your browser to get people to look for alternatives/go through the hassle of swapping browsers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.