Android fans no longer have the option to block the annoying ads on apps, as Google has yanked off the ad-blocker apps from the Google Play Store.
Considering Google generates a major chunk of its revenue from advertising, the move aimed at protecting itself and its partners comes as no surprise.
"Users in search of ad-blocking apps on Google Play won't have any luck as of today. Google has reportedly launched a campaign to remove apps that interfere with advertising from its app store," reports CNET.
Several app developers for Android applications like AdAway, AdBlock and AdFree received notifications from Google Thursday, March 14 that their apps were being pulled down, according to reports. The reason? Apparently, these ad-blocking programs violate Google Play's Developer Distribution Agreement terms and conditions, specifically section 4.4.
"4.4 Prohibited Actions. You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Market, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator. You may not use customer information obtained from the Market to sell or distribute Products outside of the Market," reads section 4.4 of Google's Developer Distribution Agreement.
Whether one is in disagreement with Google's decision is of little consequence as per the terms: the ad-blocker apps clearly violate this policy. Even though ads are annoying, they are one of the major sources of revenue for Google and its partners, enabling them to provide users with free services and apps. Google can also afford to sell its Nexus devices like the Nexus 4 smartphone at a low price point because of the revenue generation from ads.
Users who are partial to ad-blockers have the alternative to side-load apps, but remember: these are more prone to malware.
One question that remains is: if the ad-blockers violated policy, why didn't Google dump them earlier?