Its a cool little app that does as it suggest – block ads. It not only works on mobile phone but also on the desktop browser too. With claims of over 200 million downloads it is reported to be the most popular browser extension downloaded.
Recently I had to reset my phone back to factory defaults which naturally deleted all my apps. When I started to re-install my apps and I was rather surprised to see that Adblock Plus is no longer available on the Google Play store.
Naturally, I did a couple of web searches looking for it only to find that Google has pulled the app out of the store citing that these ad blocking apps ‘interfere with or access another service or product in an unauthorized manner’ and therefore violate section 4.4) of its Developer Distribution Agreement.
Other similar apps such as AdBlocker, AdAway and AdFree have also been removed from the store.
So is Google right in what they have done ?
Technically yes. No one’s app should be able to interfere with another app for any reason. If youare an app developer who is funding your apps from advertising, you would be naturally upset if no one clicks on your ads as another app blocks them.
On the other hand, as the consumer using these apps, should we not have a choice ? Its like the PVR option that we can fast forward the ads to get to the good bits.
Till Faida, AdBlock Plus co-founder claims that this is not the case with their app as the user has the option to block or allow ads “By unilaterally removing these apps, Google is stepping all over the checks and balances that make the Internet democratic. People should be really alarmed by this move.”
One more thing to consider is that Google has its Store and you have the option to display your good in the store or not. If you want to display your apps, then you have to follow the rules. Google has taken lots of flack for not having a strict and controlled app vetting process like Apple does. So it looks like Google is cleaning up and enforcing the rules.
But unlike Apple, you still have a choice. If you still would like to have the AdBlock app, you can “side load” the app – this means loading the app onto the phone not from the official Google Play store. You can do this by going to their website: http://adblockplus.org/en/android-about#faq