With the release of iOS 9 last year, Apple introduced support for ad blocking within its Safari web browser. On Sunday, smartphone maker Samsung debuted its own support for content and ad blocking in the default web browser installed on its Android smartphones. The update, which is rolling out now to devices running Android Lollipop or higher, works in a similar way as ad blocking on Apple’s iOS 9.
Third party developers now have the ability to build apps that will block distracting and intrusive ads on the mobile web, making web pages load faster and consume less data by stripping out the extra content.
These apps are made possible by way of Samsung’s new Content Blocker extension API arriving in the latest version of the Samsung Internet Browser. That means Samsung owners will have to be using the company’s own browser, not a third-party browser like Google Chrome, in order to take advantage of the new functionality.
That’s still a massive potential audience for the technology, however – the Google Play Store reports the Samsung browser has over 10 million (but under 50 million) downloads. And this is only those who have sought it out – the app is pre-installed on Samsung devices.
However, unlike on iOS where Safari dominates – Net Applications‘ data indicates that Safari has over 34 percent of the mobile browser market – on Android phones, Google’s Chrome is still the top choice. It has a 41.57 percent share of the total market, thanks to its ties with Google’s Android OS.
The content blocking API from Samsung makes it the first major Android smartphone maker to introduce ad blocking while these ad blockers climbed to the top of the App Store charts once Apple made their ground shaking announcement.
The fervor around ad blocking has died down in recent weeks, but consumers’ dissatisfaction with the mobile web and its ad-crammed pages has not. Other initiatives are also underway that take a different angle on making the web more usable on mobile devices, including Google’s sped-up, mobile-friendly websites built by way of its AMP Project. Meanwhile, Facebook now offers “Instant Articles” on its social network, which are said to load up as much as 10 times faster than the mobile web.