google gaslighting 

I'm really getting quite tired of Google gaslighting people about the direction Chrome is going in the past years.

"You're hysterical if you abscribe any monopolistic intent to these changes! This is _clearly_ being done for security reasons! Those extensions are risky! Performance is a concern!"

Meanwhile Alphabet directly mentions the risk from ad-blockers to their revenue in their SEC filings.

It's one thing to be monopolistic and another to gaslight people about it.

google gaslighting 

There are way too many conspiracy theories online and unfair accusations.

"Big corporation engages in monopolistic practices to make money" is not one of them.

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google gaslighting 

I especially hate the subtype of this gaslighting, the deliberate fuzziness.

Any criticism is met with "those changes are still under development/discussion, stop assuming a bad outcome!" but without ever committing to any clear and easy goals like "all ad-blocking extensions will continue to work as before".

It allows Google to float plans and see the amount of pushback. If little, they can just bulldoze ahead. If a lot, they can pretend to have arrived at a mild version.

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google gaslighting 

So when Google backtracks on something due to outrage, then they turn around a few months later and ask, "what was the big deal? Why were you crying wolf? we said all along that those were changes under development!"

This is gaslighting and absolutely is a strategy to keep pushing Chrome in the direction that's favourable for Google.

It's throwing changes against a wall and seeing what sticks and what distinguishes it from true experimentation is how one-sided it is.

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google gaslighting 

If we zoom out to the big picture, everyone, literally EVERYONE in the infosec community knows that ads are a huge security, privacy and performance risk, to the point that if you're an enterprise security person it's actively negligent not to roll out ad-blockers to corporate desktops.

Google has one of the best security teams in the world, they know this.

The bottom line is that ad-blocking would be something core Chrome provides under reasonable risk analysis.

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google gaslighting 

Google is an ad company so they won't do this, but it's worth acknowledging this explicitly instead of just accepting it as a given.

That still leaves ad-blockers as extensions. Removing ads via extensions brings tremendous security and performance benefits. When Google is talking about the performance impact of extensions, this doesn't get factored in, especially in the context of those "rule caps". Why is it reasonable to have 30-50k rule caps at all?

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google gaslighting 

Surely, extension performance should be looked at not just by how much time/resources those extensions take to run, but the benefits they provide!

If an extension installs a million rules, but still comes out as a net benefit overall, then what's the point of a rule cap? So why do we accept the framing that there has to be a "to be determined" rule cap in the first place?

The browser should only give users information to make informed choices about extension performance.

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google as a public company 

Some people claim it's a conspiracy that Google would do these changes to benefit themselves.

Google is a massive, publicly traded company. Ads are 90%+ of overall Alphabet revenues. They are one of the biggest names in data analysis and statistics on the planet.

Ad-blockers are a business risk. This means there is a business risk mitigation plan in Google to quantify and mitigate this risk.

Quantify: they have troves of info on everything related to ads and blocking

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google as a public company 

They probably have extremely precise data on who is using ad blockers, done multiple studies on WHY, identified different subgroups of those users and basically figured out everything about the subject. Every single company who has billions of dollars riding on this would have done the same. Exact percentages with dashboards monitoring the KPIs related to ad blocking.

Mitigate: Google makes money from ads and wants to keep delivering ads to people.

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google as a public company 

Why do you think Chrome was built in the first place? Their business risk planning told them that they are in a better position if they control the channel (the browser) of ad delivery. Noone spends literal billions creating a browser just for fun. Control is Chrome's raison d'etre.

So, mitigating ad-blockers: Google must have known that forbidding ad-blockers directly wouldn't fly, a.) for anti-competitive legal reasons b.) the public uproar.

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google as a public company 

@szbalint credit card companies make no money from people who pay their bills in full before the 30 day billing cycle. They call these people “deadbeats.”
Google probably has the same approach to ad blockers. The small segment of “deadbeat” users whom they can’t monetize is a fraction compared to the all-in masses. Every year or two we see a new extension or browser but nothing has ever stuck. I’d be more interested in how they thwart up and coming ad blocking tech.

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