Want Ad-Blocking Apps On Your Android Device? Don’t Expect Google To Sell Them Anymore

Until yesterday, Android users could go into the Google Play store and find a bunch of apps developed to block ads from showing up on your wireless device. But now Big G has decided these types of apps violate its policies.

According to Google, such apps violate both the following section of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement:

You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Market, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator.

Till Faida, co-founder of popular app AdBlock Plus, tells VentureBeat that Google’s decision to ban ad-blockers from its Android app store may be the harbinger of a crackdown on browser-based apps for Google’s Chrome.

“I believe they’re testing the reaction to see if they can get away with it,” he explains. “If the users don’t object, I think it’s quite likely they will try something like this on Chrome too.”

While users who have these apps will still be able to use them, developers will no longer be able to push updates through the Play store. So people who want to obtain or receive updates to AdBlock Plus and similar apps will need to do so through the developers’ websites or through some third-party app marketplaces.

Over at Forbes.com, Tim Worstall tries to see things from Google’s point of view.

“Google is, in business terms, an advertising company,” he writes. “That’s absolutely where all the cash comes from… Then someone starts saying, ‘Hey, guys! Use my great app so you don’t have to see any ads!’ Those very ads the serving of which in vast volumes is Google’s very business. Thinking of it this way makes me wonder why Google took so long to make this move rather than why they made the move at all.”

Counters Faida in a statement to TechCrunch:

“I realize that advertising revenue is important to Google, but understand that AdBlock Plus does not automatically block all ads; we simply allow users the choice whether to block ads or whitelist them. We even encourage advertising that is done appropriately and conforms to an Acceptable Ads policy, which is debated and decided in an open public forum.”

This battle is only going to get more vicious, as website operators grow more dependent not just on ads, but on invasive ads, at the same time as a growing number of consumers look to shield themselves from such invasions.