Google has added the much-awaited ‘Heavy Ad Intervention’ feature in the latest Canary version of its Chrome web browser. The feature essentially monitors for advertisements and other scripts within websites that consume a lot of CPU and bandwidth. In the latest Canary version, the feature quickly unloads the resource-hungry script and prevents it from functioning.
The ‘Heavy Ad Intervention’ feature could be Google’s answer to ad blocking, and a way to pacify Google Chrome users who were heavily disappointed after the company decided to deploy a deprecated ad-blocking manifest. The feature could prove useful for users who face the risk of malware and other malicious code that exists on several websites. However, the very nature of the feature makes it redundant to the majority of advertisements served on websites.
Google Chrome Canary Version 80 Includes ‘Heavy Ad Intervention’ Feature But It’s Behind A Flag:
We had earlier reported about Google readying a technique to ensure resource-heavy scripts and web advertisements are automatically unloaded. The feature with the name ‘Heavy Ad Intervention” is now available behind a flag for Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS, and Android in Chrome 80 Canary. Needless to add, the feature is experimental but can be easily enabled. Users merely need to have Google Chrome Canary, which is different than the stable version of the web browser.
Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge browser, which works on Chromium base, have features that allow users to block Cryptomining Scripts or resource-hungry ads via the Tracking Protection feature. Both the popular web browsers use Disconnect blacklist for this feature. It is apparent that Google doesn’t want to lag behind, and intends to offer similar functionality within Chrome.
Chrome's on-by-default ad blocker – the one that doesn't block 99% of ads – goes global Tuesday https://t.co/Vkzzeut7nT
— The Register (@TheRegister) July 9, 2019
Essentially, Google is offering an elementary level of protection to Chrome users to prevent bad ads from consuming their system resources. This feature is nowhere close to the powerful ad-blocking features, add-ons, and extensions that are available for the Firefox browser. However, it still acts as a protective barrier against scripts that disguise themselves as harmless ads.
The Chromium base development team reportedly intends to preserve the user’s browsing experience and prevent it from being marred by bad ads that routinely drain device battery, make the pages slow to load and function, and consume mobile data. Those on metered connections would surely appreciate the feature. The feature’s primary target appears to be ads that mine Cryptocurrency, load large compressed images, large video files, and finally, ads that autoload without user gesture or permission.
— TechDows (@techdows) October 30, 2019
Google has offered more details about the Heavy Ad Intervention feature in the Explainer page. Although the feature is currently disabled, it can be easily enabled by following these simple steps:
- Download and install the latest Google Chrome Canary version. The feature isn’t available in the stable version of Chrome.
- Type in chrome://flags in the address bar.
- Search for “Heavy ad”, and in the highlighted results, enable Heavy Ad Intervention
- After enabling the feature, restart Google Chrome for the feature to start working.
Incidentally, Google Chrome’s latest stable version does have a built-in adblocker. However, Google has clarified that the adblocker attempts to take down abusive ads or ads with hate content. In other words, the ad blocker is not comprehensive and will allow the majority of the ads that Google permits through its ad program.