Published On: Wed, Feb 3rd, 2016

Google Boots Ad Blockers From Google Play

Earlier this week, Samsung rolled out support for ad blocking in a new chronicle of a web browser for mobile devices, a Samsung Internet Browser. Third-party developers fast responded by launching ad-blocking mobile apps that work with the browser. Now those developers are anticipating their apps are being pulled from a Google Play, and their updates are being declined. The reason? It seems Google doesn’t wish ad blockers to be distributed as standalone applications on a Google Play store.

In box we missed it: a few days ago, Samsung introduced ad restraint within its mobile web browser. The underline works a lot like Apple’s support for ad restraint in Safari, that arrived with a recover of iOS 9. Specifically, Samsung launched a new Content Blocker prolongation API which allows third-party developers to build mobile apps that, once installed, will concede those surfing a mobile web around Samsung’s browser to retard ads and other calm that can delayed down web pages, like trackers.

Apparently, Google – that usually so happens to be in a ad business itself – is not a fan of this new functionality.

One of a initial third-party ad blockers to launch following Samsung’s proclamation was Adblock Fast. The app fast turn a tip giveaway app on Google Play in a “Productivity” category, though has since been criminialized from Google Play.

According to Rockship Apps owner and CEO Brian Kennish, builder of Adblock Fast, Google’s app reviews group sensitive him a app was being private for violating “Section 4.4” of a Android Developer Distribution Agreement.

This is a territory that informs developers they can’t recover apps that meddle with “the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third-party including, though not singular to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator.” 

If that calm sounds a small broad-reaching and vague, that’s given it is. It’s also what allows Google to conflict to changes in a industry, like this one, on a fly.


Kennish says that Google’s app reviews group sensitive him that he could resubmit after modifying his app so it didn’t “interfere with another app, use or product in an unapproved manner.”

“We’ve been perplexing to hit Google by their open channels given Monday, and we attempted by private ones all day yesterday…but we haven’t gotten any central response from a tellurian – usually autoresponders,” records Kennish.

He suspects that Adblock Fast was a initial to be pulled from Google’s app store because it had climbed a charts so fast and had achieved a 4.25 rating. Kennish says that a app had around 50,000 installs during a time of a removal.

In addition, a association could have gotten on Google’s radar by pushing out an refurbish that offering a improved user experience. (Some people didn’t comprehend it only worked on Samsung’s 4.0 browser and left 1-star reviews. The refurbish was meant to improved prominence a app’s requirements.)


Meanwhile, as of a time of writing, other ad blockers are still live, including Crystal and Adblock Plus (Samsung Browser). However, that might not be a box for long.

Crystal’s developer Dean Murphy also usually submitted an refurbish that’s usually been declined by Google’s app examination group for a same reason cited above. Again, Google references territory 4.4 of a Developer Agreement as a reason for stopping a refurbish from going live.

“I have appealed a refurbish rejection, as we assume that we am deserted for ‘interfering’ with Samsung Internet Browser, citing a developer support that Samsung have for a calm restraint feature,” explains Murphy. “I’m still available their reply.”

Adblock Plus tells us that a new app, an prolongation for Samsung’s browser, is still live, and they have not nonetheless listened from Google about a removal. However, they have also not attempted to refurbish a app yet, according to co-founder and CEO Till Faida.

From a bargain of a situation, Google will continue to support mobile browsers that can retard ads within themselves, possibly around built-in functionality (as with a Adblock Plus browser), or around extensions (as with Firefox, Javelin, Dolphin browsers, etc,) though usually when those extensions are not distributed around APKs (downloadable apps) on Google Play.

Or to put it some-more simply: browser apps that retard ads are okay; ad restraint apps are not.

It’s not transparent during this time because Crystal and Adblock Plus (Samsung Browser) have not also been pulled from Google Play. But murdering a developer’s ability to refurbish their app has a identical outcome as a full removal, in terms of both promulgation a summary to a particular app developer, as good as a wider developer community.

Reached for comment, a orator for Google usually offering a following statement:

“While we don’t criticism on specific apps, we can endorse that a policies are designed to yield a good knowledge for users and developers.”

Given a conditions during hand, it seems that Samsung will need to re-evaluate how a ad-blocking underline is being implemented. Either it will need to build in support for non-APK extensions, or it will need to figure out another approach for developers to discharge their APK files outward of Google Play, such as in a self-hosted app store.

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