Google Chrome won’t be showing ads in the New Tab Page, claimed the search giant. Google issued the clarification after a new module was discovered whose primary purpose was to populate the New Tab Page (NTP) with advertisements.
Google has reportedly issued an official clarification to deny its intentions of pushing ads on the New Tab Page. The ads were not only visible but the module responsible for serving ads could be toggled on or off. It is not immediately clear if Google Chrome won’t have ads in the New Tab Page always or only until Google figures out a better way to serve promotional or sponsored content.
New Feature Indicates Google Is Attempting To Show Ads In New Tab Page:
Google has been working on a new feature for Chrome’s New Tab Page that shows advertisements on shopping based on the users’ browsing activity on Google services. The experimental feature’s existence can be confirmed inside the Google Chrome Canary version. The feature lies hidden and disabled flags and can be activated to see what could be expected from Google Chrome New Tab Page possibly in the near future.
#GoogleChrome is preparing a widget w/ shopping ads on the new tab page.
An experiment in newer versions of Chrome shows that #Google is working on a widget for the new tab page that would show, possibly among other things, what are essentially shopping ads. pic.twitter.com/5zkbc7fQp0
— Tech Agnostic (@techie_rish) October 24, 2020
The NTP Modules Chromium team has been working on, suggests Google could be trying to turn New Tab Page into a central hub that shows shopping advertisements, streaming services, and recipes based on browsing activity. The “NTP Shopping Task Module” “Shows the new shopping module on the New Tab Page”. Users who are interested in seeing the same can follow the simple instructions as below:
- Launch Chrome Canary
- Visit chrome://flags page
- Use the following flags
- NTP Modules
- NTP Shopping Task Module
Users must choose “Enabled-Fake Data” for NTP Shopping Task Module before restarting the browser. Subsequent to a restart, users should now be able to see ads card on Chairs on New Tab Page of Google Chrome web browser.
— UNDERCODE NEWS (@UndercodeNews) October 23, 2020
If the user hovers about the tiny circled “i” icon on the card, a slide-out informs them “you’re seeing this item based on your previous activity using Google Services” and it suggests, you can see, change and delete your data by visiting the myactiviity.google.com page. Clicking on the tiny ‘x’ closes the card.
Incidentally, only the chairs ad shows up, and that too when users select Fake Data, but not when they choose other options such as “Enabled” and “Enable-Real Data”. This suggests Google is experimenting with the feature and using placeholder data to simulate the effect. But, when clicked on the module, it takes the user to a Google search page that is populated with relevant search results and ads.
Google Denies It Is Trying To Serve Ads Based On Browsing Habits And History:
Google Chrome already shows promotional or sponsored messages on the New Tab Page and offers a flag to disable them. It is quite possible that the search giant is extending the functionality with NTP Modules.
— MSPoweruser (@mspoweruser) October 24, 2020
However, Google has reached out to the publication that revealed the NTP Shopping Task Module and insisted that the “ads” were free product listings. The clarification email read:
“We’d like to clarify that this experiment is displaying free product listing, not ads. We regularly test new features of this kind to help users with tasks like shopping and more.”
Although Google has categorically denied inserting advertisements or ads, it did mention the feature was “to help users with tasks like shopping.”