Google has said that during the year of 2015 it blocked more than 780 million adverts which were violating its advertising policy. This was aimed at being a harsher policy toward so-called "bad ads", which interfere with many people's experiences when surfing the internet: so 780 million of these adverts were blocked from Google's advertising network.
The year before, in 2014, Google said it blocked 50 percent fewer adverts than in 2015, indicating that the company is making an effort to absent annoying adverts from its users' screens.
The Senior Vice President of Adverts and Commerce at Google, Sridhar Ramaswamy, said in a blog post on Thursday 21st January 2016:
... Some ads are just plain bad — like ads that carry malware, cover up content you're trying to see, or promote fake goods. Bad ads can ruin your entire online experience, a problem we take very seriously. That's why we have a strict set of policies for the kinds of ads businesses can run with Google — and why we've invested in sophisticated technology and a global team of 1, 000+ people dedicated to fighting ads.
Which Ads Google Stopped in 2015
The kinds of adverts which Google blocked from appearing to its users in 2015 are all the most invasive and annoying ones. The company has also been careful to shield users from the potentially damaging adverts, like ones which contain malware, or are promoting false goods or offers which are scams. Here are some of the 'bad ads' which Google blocked in 2015:
- Counterfeiters: Google says that it didn't just block these ads, but it successfully suspended 10, 000 and 18, 000 Google accounts for attempting to sell counterfeit goods, such as fake designer watches or accessories.
- Pharmaceuticals: They also stopped more than 12.5 million ads which violated their policy on health care and medication, designed to protect users from ads for drugs which are not approved. This is also used to protect users against adverts which made false claims to be as effective as prescription medications.
- Weight Loss Scams: Of course, these are very common on the internet, and, in fact, Google says that these were the cause of the most advert-related complaints in 2015. They responded by suspending more than 30, 000 websites for the false adverts.
- Unwanted Software: This software can slow your devices down, and perhaps even alter your homepage, or change your browsing experience in another way. Google disabled more than 10, 000 websites for this, and also reduced unwanted downloads via Google by more than 99 percent.
Tools to Stop Adverts on Google
In addition to getting rid of some of the worst adverts during 2015, Google has also designed some tools which its users can utilize in order to take matters into their hands and get rid of even more adverts if they so choose.
- Mute This Ad: Though there will still be some adverts showing up on your Google account, the Mute This Ad option allows you to get rid of the adverts that you've seen so many times it's become too annoying. The tool lets you click an "X" at the top on many of the video adverts appearing on Google, and then Google will stop showing you this advert. It will also stop showing you similar adverts, or adverts from the same advertiser. There is also an option for you to tell Google why exactly you don't want to see that advert. This feedback is used by Google in work to make the advert experience better for its users.
- Ads Settings: In 2015, Google brought in the new design for their Ad Settings, which allows users to manage the ads that they receive through Google. You can update and change your interests at any point in time, to make sure that you only see adverts which you might have some interest in. You can block specific advertisers completely if you so choose.
Google's Plans for Adverts In 2016
Google does not want to rest here though the company has made significant improvements throughout 2015. Instead, they want to find more ways of stopping unwanted and annoying adverts; they intend to bring in more new ways of finding and stopping these ads.
In his blog post on the subject, Ramaswarmy said:
In 2016, we're planning updates like further restricting what can be advertised as effective for weight loss, and adding new protections against malware and bots. We want to make sure all the ads you see are helpful and welcome and we'll keep fighting to make that a reality.
This will come as very welcome news to the millions of people who use Google on a regular basis, as they now know that the company is working on developments to ensure that they don't bombard people with unwanted and unsolicited adverts. It will also be important for Google to recognize and prevent scams in the future, as they make significant revenue from adverts, which will decrease if they lose the trust of their users.
In 2016, it will be interesting to see what other changes and updates Google brings in to ensure that the experience of advertising via Google is a good one.