Google’s Chrome browser will begin blocking resource-heavy ads starting in late August, the company announced today. By not displaying those resource-heavy ads, Chrome could ease the strain on your phone’s battery or your home network capacity.
“We have recently discovered that a fraction of a percent of ads consume a disproportionate share of device resources, such as battery and network data, without the user knowing about it,” Marshall Vale, Product Manager, Chrome wrote in an official blog post.
“These ads (such as those that mine cryptocurrency, are poorly programmed, or are unoptimized for network usage) can drain battery life, saturate already strained networks, and cost money,” he further wrote.
Chrome will now block ads that consumer resources beyond a threshold set by the browser and will instead display an error page within the ad frame. The new ad blocking will work like this: When an ad reaches its loading limit on a website, the ad’s frame will navigate to an error page, so you won’t even be able to see the ad.
Google set the threshold to automatically block ads that use 4MB of network data or 15 seconds of the central processing unit (CPU) usage in any 30-second period, or 60 seconds of total CPU usage. Google seems to be in an ad-policing mood, since earlier this year, it announced that Chrome would start to block three of the most annoying types of video ads, also beginning in August.
“In order to save our users’ batteries and data plans, and provide them with a good experience on the web, Chrome will limit the resources a display ad can use before the user interacts with the ad. When an ad reaches its limit, the ad’s frame will navigate to an error page, informing the user that the ad has used too many resources,” Vale explained.
The threshold limits have been determined for the ads in terms of network data and CPU usage. The threshold limit set by Chrome for ads is 4MB of network data or 15 seconds of CPU usage in any 30 second period or 60 seconds of total CPU usage.
According to Vale, 0.3 percent of ads exceeding this threshold account for 27 percent of network data used by ads and 28 percent of all ad CPU usage.
The company intends to experiment with these threshold limits over the next several months and to launch this intervention on Chrome stable near the end of August. Previously, Chrome had rolled out a “Heavy Ad Intervention” toggle in Chrome 80 to let users block some resource-heavy ads for their respective browsers.