[Editor Charlie sez: Let’s get it straight people, if you use Google products you are a pawn in a game you’ll never see, Google’s own version of The Truman Show.]
Switch on the ad blocking toggle that appeared this week in Google’s experimental version of Chrome, and nothing will happen.
The feature is out of service at the moment, according to a Google spokesperson, a shell of a tool with which its developers can tinker while the search giant hammers out the operational details through an ad industry trade group.
But what that tiny, empty bit of code actually represents is a looming change agent that could reshape the entire web. It’s a killswitch that Google could throw whenever it so pleases.
Chrome is by far the most popular browser in the world, meaning rational commercial websites have no choice but to play by its rules. The standards it builds into the filter will ripple across the rest of the internet as publishers adjust their ad-buying decisions to accommodate them.