If differentiation is a key component of product marketing, then how do today’s Mac browser differentiate themselves, one from another? Apple’s Safari, Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox, and Opera’s Opera are free, fast, render webpages appropriately, and are more secure than in years past, but each has a distinct personality.
For example, Safari is less cluttered. Chrome favors everything Google and has more extensions than Safari. Firefox has a huge list of extensions and add-ons. Opera has a built-in ad blocker. Wait. What? An ad blocker?
Actually, the Opera version with a built-in ad blocker is a new developer project that should tell us where browsers of the future are going. The ad blocker bandwagon is here, and though you can get ad blockers for Safari, Chrome, and Firefox (and Apple allows ad blockers on iPhone and iPad), Opera is the first somewhat major browser to put an ad blocker in as standard equipment.
Check out the Preferences and scroll to the bottom where you’ll see the Block Ads section.
As you would expect with an advanced developer edition, Opera 37 doesn’t have the same feature set as early versions, but it’s obvious that Opera’s developers are listening to the marketplace and browser users are screaming loud and clear, “Too much already!” Too. Many. Ads.
Ad Blockers have been around for years but until recently were the domain of certified browser geeks, but the benefits of ad blocking have hit the mainstream. Each of the past two years I’ve conducted a survey to determine how many McSolo readers use ad blockers. In 2014 9-percent of readers also blocked ads. In early 2015 it was 19-percent. This year it’s 31-percent. That means nearly one of every three visitors to McSolo uses an ad blocker.
Is it any wonder that ad blockers have grown in usage and become almost commonplace? It’s not likely that we’ll see Google build in an ad blocker to their Chrome browser, but they’re already available as extensions (ditto for Safari and Firefox on the Mac). Without the weight of ads and tracker scripts webpages load much faster, and for smartphone users, require far less bandwidth.
What’s not to like?
You’ll be impressed with how many advertisers track your browsing habits online.
How long before Apple and Mozilla put an ad blocker option into Safari and Mozilla? Regardless, ad blocking is a growing trend and not likely to have an easy resolution unless the advertising industry is willing to change the model of in-your-face ads and behind-your-head tracking.