Depending on who you ask, ad blocking plugins are either immoral (but legal), a necessary security tool, or a weapon in telecoms' fight against Google. Opinions are mixed, and today's news will only add fuel to the fire.
Eyeo, the German company behind the Adblock Plus browser plugin, is now beta testing a new web browser for Android which has ad blocking built in as a core feature.
The Adblock Browser is basically a modified version of Mozilla’s open source Firefox web browser. Like the Maxthon browser which launched earlier this year, the Adblock Browser features close integration with Eyeo's ad blocking tech, giving them better control over how Adblock Plus works on a mobile device.
The new web browser makes it easier for users to improve their browsing experiences by speeding up downloads, reducing mobile data usage, and blocking malvertising.
While you could get a similar experience by downloading the Adblock Plus app from Eyeo, that route requires that you configure the app (and sometimes reconfigure the app after you disable and re-enable the block).
The Adblock Browser is currently in beta. If you would like to try it, you will need to join the beta community on Google+ and opt in to the beta. Once accepted you will be able to download the app.
And if you don't want to join Google+, I expect someone will post a copy of the app shortly.
According to PageFair, around 144 million browsers were using ad blocking plugins last June, an increase of 70% from the year before. While it's difficult to estimate the impact on website revenues, ClarityRay estimated in 2012 that ads were blocked on around 9% of all page impressions.
Three years have passed since then so that has bound to have increased. Let's hope it doesn't increase too much, otherwise the free to read websites we know and love will shortly have to find a new business model.