Google says goodbye to Ad-Blocker apps, pulls them from Google Play

by: Andrew GrushMarch 13, 2013


The so-called Mayan apocalypse scheduled for December 22nd of last year might have been a no-show, but it looks like another apocalypse has in fact come to pass instead: the ad-blocker apocalypse. That’s right, Google has now eradicated ad-blocker apps from the Play store.

Honestly, while this is going to anger some folks, it doesn’t surprise me. It only surprises me that it took this long. Google makes the most of its revenue from advertising, as do many developers out there with free apps. This is about Google protecting itself and its partners.

As Google points out, these ad-blocking programs violate the Google Play developer distribution agreement terms, specifically section 4.4.

What’s section 4.4? Here it is, straight from Google:

4.4 Prohibited Actions. You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Market, 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 Market to sell or distribute Products outside of the Market.

Whether you agree with Google’s decision or not, the wording here is pretty clear and there isn’t much room for arguing. Ad-blockers clearly do violate this policy.

While no one loves ads, you have to understand that this is how Google and its partners are able to provide so many of their services and apps at no cost to you. It is also the reason why Google can afford to sell devices like the LG Nexus 4 at such a low price point, because they don’t need to make money of their Nexus devices. It is the ads that truly make them the big bucks.

For those that really can’t live without ad-blockers, you can always sideload the apps instead. It might not be as convenient, but it isn’t particularly hard to do either. What do you think of Google’s decision to remove ads, agree or disagree?

  • Greg Cardall

    Ads…the necessary evil of our time.

  • dogulas

    Hey it’s better than paying for Gmail, and Search, and Drive, and Voice, and…pretty much everything I use on a daily basis. Ads are a great solution.

    • Skripka Skripka

      Except none of those apps you just mentioned are ad supported….

      I’m paying for every kilobyte that goes to my device…why should I be paying for crap I don’t want to see on my phone? There’s a reason that it is illegal for telemarketers to advert on cellphone lines, because customers had to pay for that too.

      • dogulas

        Search isn’t ad supported? Did I miss something?

        And using any Google product increases the use of others. And yes, there are also ads on Gmail.

  • Roddisq

    Google is becoming Apple….

  • People have the choice. Pick ad supported apps or pay for ad-free. Removing ads from apps is like piracy, so it was a necessary step.

    • There’s more to using the ad blockers for apps that are free (which to me is a sad side effect as I do buy apps). It saves data if you have a limited plan like me, and I use my browser in desktop mode all the time, and it really helps there. I don’t mind paying for an app that has a paid version. I support the devs. I just don’t like ads all over the place where they really don’t need to be. And you saying it was a necessary step, so I take it you don’t use any ad blockers anywhere right (mobile or desktop)? That’s great for you and the ad makers. I’m not being sarcastic, but I can’t justify annoying flashing ads with sound. The first one I see the ad blocker goes on. Another sad side effect for the normal text ad makers. Sorry guys.

    • xoj_21

      no they are not, u are blocking host files which is legal, hacking the apps thats another thing but only blogs ads from browser and side effect apps ads are nto displayed as well

  • Was bound to happen. Just surprised they let it go for so long before banning adblockers.

  • nonono

    agree, of course. Google is a ads company after all

  • Minhaj Akbar

    There should be a way to black ads in browser atleast they should allow that. I don’t have any problem with ads in apps. But do have in browser.

  • Uffe_Malmo

    Congratulations Google, your journey towards the dark side is complete!

    All you need now is a black turtleneck shirt and a fruit logo.

    • utkarsh gupta

      Cab u propose a better solution to the problem ??
      As many developers will be doing away with android platform if they don’t get returns to their investments

      • Uffe_Malmo

        There is no problem, they earned enough as it was.

  • bytewise

    I don’t know why people complain about this. Google services are free. They even give away the code free. Most Google ads are non obtrusive. We should be happy to support them with the ads.
    Agree with @Leif81:disqus . Blocking ads from ad supported services / apps is piracy.

  • aholsteinson

    It makes perfect sense for Google to do this.

  • S_IV

    More ads = more lag. Not happy about this.

  • Guest

    didnt liked ad blockers because they take up alot of ram.i can live with apps.

    • lalala


  • MasterMuffin

    They didn’t delete ROM toolbox, which has ad blocker!

  • bartman

    next time google will pull any internet Firewall from market

  • Their next step would be to block sideloading of apps to prevent people from installing adblockers.

  • Bambang Hermanto

    Hmmm… if developers can restrict the ads or include them in the apps instead of feeding on my bandwidth, I will totally support this movement. I have purchased many apps, but paying just to remove the ads is not cool IMO. I never buy apps which free version have just all the same features, so I simply disable data/wifi and run them instead, but it is annoying to do on my Android phone.

  • Rick Kilpatrick

    To be honest I rarely even notice many ads except on some non-Google apps or on certain web sites where the ads are hardly noticeable when on mobile view, and I don’t use any ad blockers on my phone. Believe me, I do not like advertisements and refuse to watch TV because of them (that and the fact that TV content is such rubbish). The money I have saved using Google Voice for free unlimited calls and texts to USA and Canada alone is worth it, but Google Calendar and it’s reminders have made my life incredibly more organized, and Google Maps and voice Navigation and so many other features that not only Android users benefit from and rely on, but millions of iPhone users do as well. As soon as any obtrusive ads that block the page start popping up I either close the web page or uninstall the app, but if they are small strip ads that aren’t in the way I can live with them. I am no fan of mindless un-targeted