The days of blocking ads on free apps may be over for Android users. Google is now taking measures to prevent the loss of ad revenue due to ad-blocking apps. As of Wednesday, the Google Play store was deemed ad-blocker free. For those who used ad-blockers to get the benefits of free apps and no ads, this is devastating news. However, these apps are also in violation of the Google Play store’s terms of service. Since Google makes most of its money off of ad revenue, it was only a matter of time before the Internet giant started cracking down.
* Google removed all ad-blockers from the Play store including three popular apps including AdAway, Adblock Plus, AdFree Android and Ad Blocker Root.
* Developers for each ad removed received a notification stating that the app was in direct violation of the Prohibited Actions section (4.4) of the Play Store Developer Distribution Agreement.
* Currently, cached versions of the some of the ad-blocking apps are still listed in the Play store.
* The developer of AdBlock, Wladmir Palant, recently wrote about the purge in his blog. He stated that in the past, Android used to allow you to download any app as long as it wasn’t deemed malicious. He also speculated that rooting apps may be next on Google’s list of apps to remove.
* Some apps will still be available from the developers’ websites, such as AdBlock. If you already have an ad-blocker app installed, you will be able to keep it, but will no longer be able to receive updates.
* Obviously, ad-blocking apps are extremely popular, which may have been the cause behind Google’s sudden desire to remove them from the marketplace. For example, almost one million users installed AdBlock Plus from the Play store since November alone.
* Many critics and industry experts agree with the decision. After all, developers and Google depend upon the ad revenue. Many free apps are available as paid ad-free versions, ensuring the developers receive payment for their work no matter which app version you install.
* Based upon comments from popular mobile tech news sites such as PCMag, PCWorld, MobileMag and AndroidPolice, many Android users aren’t pleased with the purge. They feel Google is being too greedy and this is just the first step in taking away a user’s freedom. Others are fine with the change as long as Google plans to ban paid apps that force ads onto users. Still others want a rule that ensures the ads in free apps are less obtrusive, stating they only use the ad-blocking apps to make their favorite apps usable.
At the very least, Google isn’t going as far as Apple. When Apple bans an app, users can no longer use it all, even if it’s already installed. At the moment, Google is letting Android users keep their ad-blocking apps.