Adblock Plus said today that Google has removed all ad blocking apps for Android, including Adblock Plus, from the Google Play Store. Adblock Plus claims that this unilateral move by Google threatens consumer choice.
Adblock Plus is a free ad-blocking tool that is the product of an open-source community project; it has been downloaded more than 200 million times worldwide. Adblock Plus plugs into any Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Android browser.
“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,” said Till Faida, co-founder of Adblock Plus. “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.”
Android users can still download and install Adblock Plus directly from their website.
“Google indicated that their reason for removing Adblock Plus is that it violates Section 4.4 of their Developer Distribution Agreement,” Faida continued. “But today's action is the third in a string of actions that Google has taken against our open-source product: in late February Google began forcing Android users to manually configure a proxy server in order to run Adblock Plus; in December 2012 Google re-categorized Adblock Plus in the Chrome Web store and stopped showing it in search results when users specifically looked for the extension; and when Adblock Plus re-listed as an app on December 12th, Google took it down again 12 hours later.”