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?