(Update: it’s back) Google pulls Samsung-compatible adblocking app from the Play Store

by: Jimmy WestenbergFebruary 9, 2016

samsung galaxy note 5 review aa (4 of 32)

Update, February 9: And, just like that, Adblock Fast has been reinstated in the Play Store. According to a blog post put up by Adblock Fast developer Rocketship Apps, Google accepted the appeal the developer filed following the app’s suspension last week. No details on the reasons why Google blocked the app were given. Adblock Fast can again be downloaded from the Play Store. Other ad-blocking plugins for Samsung’s proprietary browser continue to be available.

Original post, February 3: Google makes a lot of money from advertisements, so it’s no surprise that when a developer brings a new adblocking app to the Play Store, it’ll be under close watch. Just a few days after Samsung announced that it was bringing adblocking support to its stock Internet browser, Google has already removed one of the debut adblocking extensions from the Google Play Store. The app in question is Rocketship Apps’ Adblock Fast, which was downloaded roughly 50,000 times after its release, quickly bumping it up to the top charts.

One of the developers from Rocketship Apps received a letter from Google claiming Adblock Fast violated Section 4.4 of the Developer Distribution Agreement. Section 4.4 is a provision that requires app makers to not build any app that interferes with other installed applications:

4.4 Prohibited Actions. You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Store, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator. You may not use customer information obtained from the Store to sell or distribute Products outside of the Store.

It should be noted that this is sort of a grey area. Adblock Fast was using an official Samsung API to block ads and it was sanctioned by the Samsung Internet app, which is something that many other Android apps do as well. It does, however, technically disrupt web pages by removing advertisements, which is potentially why Google had a qualm with the app. If you can recall, this is the same term Google used to pull Adblock Plus’ first app from the Play Store, and the popular adblocking company was only recently able to return to Google Play.

With that said, things might not be all fine and dandy for Adblock Plus. Adblock Plus also has a Samsung Internet browser extension in the Play Store that uses the same API as Adblock Fast, though the folks at Rocketship Apps claim the extension has yet to reach Google’s radar.

All in all, it’s not entirely clear why Google removed Adblock Fast. Plenty of other apps block ads in the Play Store, so it’s odd that Google would choose only this app to pull from its store. The app developers are still awaiting a response from Google regarding the removal.

  • AbbyZFresh

    They removed it because there’s still millions of users using Samsung’s Internet Browser. And if they are all compeled to download Adblock Fast, that means less money for Google.

  • schahram

    I love to see Samsung finishes Tizen to move on and leave Android alone. This way they can control their own eco system like Apple does. This would help them to control their own destiny. Imagine, Google stops developing android. All manufacturers using android would stop their products.

    • Andrew Blackburn

      So you want wot apple has?
      The dreaded walled garden. … I thought strict control was a bad thing?

      • Abd

        The different is huge. Tizen is open source based on linux. Exactly like android.

        • Andrew Blackburn

          We’ll see. . Samsung will control it just like apple when it comes to it

          • Abd

            Samsung doesnt own Tizen. Its developed by multi companies

          • Samsung & Intel

      • jasonlowr

        I highly doubt they will, and samsung didn’t develope Tizen themselves.

      • mrochester

        No, control in a technology product is good.

      • Scr-U-gle

        You have a walled garden on android already, you just don’t know it.

        Google search is an edited version of the web being prosecuted in Europe, security has to be poor for the seed-funders/partners of google, OEMs are forced to include bloatware by Google, Apps are being taken out of GooglePlay all the time, boot loaders are being locked down, and your software support is limited to 18 months if you are lucky to get that.

        Not really in the spirit of an open-source platform when you look at the facts rather than the marketing bull.

    • neonix

      Lol. You don’t seem to understand how open source software works.

      If Google stop developing Android, everyone else will simply fork it and continue development of their own distributions.

    • Major Sceptic

      What you have proposed may not be such a crazy thing,
      I have been wondering what will happen to Android myself when Google runs out of things top do to it, will Google turn up the thumbscrews like apple ???

  • Mister Pyrrhuloxia

    Rooted phone. Adaway. Best way of blocking ads.

    • TattoozNTech

      i only use the Xposed youtube Adaway module. for the rest of the phone, i use the awesome, flashable MoaAB host file. wouldn’t ever android without it! :)

    • HotelQuebec

      Adaway, unfortunately, breaks some sites so I’ve since switched to Adguard which hasn’t broken any site while filtering all the bloated ads. Another bonus is Adguard doesn’t require root, supports whitelisting and works on older Samsung devices that can’t run Adblock Fast.

  • You still love Android?

    • jasonlowr

      Who are you indian

  • nebulaoperator

    Adblocker. F**k advertisment.

  • Eleazar Parham

    Yeah its strange how they haven’t touched
    AdBlock Browser. I just hope they don’t turn into tyrant apple

  • Pez Smith

    Can’t you sideload this app?

  • T4rd

    It’s odd how they enforce this in the Play Store, but not in the Chrome web store since there have always been adblockers in there.

  • Good thing I had it downloaded already

  • Falenone

    Adblocking app in the store? Quick! get rid of it

    Adware, cheetah mobile, *whatever* booster bullshit and malicious apps? KEEP ‘EM AT ALL COSTS!!1oneone

  • Kadri246

    All Samsung needs to do is add the app to their Galaxy Apps Store and in the future, cook it in their ROMs… There’s always more than one way to skin a cat

  • The-Sailor-Man

    And why this app is not in Galaxy App Store?????
    Any explanations?

  • Reed

    Adaway user here. Won’t ever stop using it.

  • tiger

    But, oh no, Google is not evil at all….

  • VersedNJ

    Not hard to find the apk and sideload it.

    • Chris

      Then post the apk kid

  • Moxin JC

    lol and they say Android is much more open than Apple’s iOS

    • balcobomber25

      It is.

      • Chris

        Getting less and less

        But it’s better than way. Too many nerds ruining things

  • Dany Bouffard

    can someone post the extension id

  • Far Moscow

    I really hope that Samsung will move as quickly as possible to Tizen OS. It’s time to get rid of slavish Android-dependence.

  • jeff

    what an asshole google is turning out to be. same as apple. Greedy pigs

    • balcobomber25

      They make their money off of advertising. Just like Samsung loads phones with crapware. It’s all about $$$

  • balcobomber25

    Seems like most of comments here don’t seem to realize Google makes more off of advertising than anything else. The last thing they want is for consumers not to see ads. There’s also always been ways to get adblock to work with Android.

  • mcdonsco

    Too bad it only works on the Samsung web browser. Only one I’ve found that seems to work well on chrome without being rooted is adguard.

  • Stephen Chen

    Wait a minute, none of my android device is compatible with this app? Even my Samsung Note 5? Can’t download it google play store, may have to find the apk from other sources.

  • WorldStarrrrr

    To this I say is there anyone at least on this site that uses the Samsung browser and not…say..Chrome or Dolphin or “insert fav”