Unpleasant and possibly malicious ads are a pernicious problem online, so much so that Maxthon is betting that users will be drawn to its latest browser offering.
This developer is launching a new version of its web browser today which will come bundled with Adblock Plus enabled as default. Users of the Android and Windows versions of Maxthon will soon find themselves with ads, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google ads, blocked by default.
The Windows app is available now, and the Android app is going to be available shortly in the Play Store - or so Eyeo, the developer of Adblock Plus, claims. I, on the other hand, am not so sure.
While I was working on this post I was reminded that in early 2013 Google purged ad-blocking apps from Google Play. Many apps, including Adblock Plus, were removed from Google Play, and a check earlier today confirmed that the apps are still absent.
As an ad network, Google has an understandable motivation to want to discourage use of ad-blocking tools, and so long as the tools can be downloaded and installed from the web it's really not a big issue for users. But it does present a problem for Maxthon, which wants to bundle Adblock Plus with its web browser.
I'm still waiting to hear back from either Eyeo or Maxthon with details on they plan to get around Google's ban. At this point I doubt they will be able to offer the app through Google Play, but I could be wrong.
Update: Eyeo insisted that the app should be in Google Play, and suggested that perhaps there was a delay in the listing getting updated.
Until I can test the new browser, I'm just going to have to content myself with using the version of Adblock Plus which I downloaded from Eyeo. It took a little work to configure but it was worth it. The browsing experience is just as fast, and I don't loose any screen real estate to adverts (see the screenshot above for an example).