Three ways the new iOS ad blocking hurts Google

Apple’s ad blocking API is good for users and bad for Google, in 3 ways:

1: Blocking ads, of course

This is the most direct way that Apple’s API is bad for Google: more mobile users can block ads, which are the basis of Google’s business.

(That said, the economics are such that it will not be a linear relationship between “ads blocked” and “$ lost”, due to the incredible wastefulness of the status quo.)

2: iOS becomes a better user experience

Because Android does not offer an ad blocking API, iOS gains a competitive advantage in user experience. Most users don’t deliberately choose a mobile OS, but if they become accustomed to a less noisy experience on iOS, their preference will only be strengthened.

3: Safari becomes a better user experience

I generally prefer Chrome on my iPad. But in the few days I’ve been on iOS9 (and having experimented with the Peace and Crystal ad blockers), I now find myself preferring Safari where I didn’t before.

Technical note: Chrome on iOS could adopt Safari’s ad blockers, if it chooses, though I suspect it won’t.

Third parties?

Apple offers the technical means for embedded browsers to adopt Safari’s functionality. An example of “embedded” would be Twitter for iOS, which brings up a browser in-app when you click a link. I haven’t worked out whether it’s in Twitter’s interest to do this.

Published by Matt Sherman on September 18, 2015