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Google declines to comment on report ad-blocking will become the norm on its Chrome browser

Google is set to introduce an ad-blocking feature for its popular Chrome web browser that could be switched on by default, according to reports quoting sources “familiar” with the web giant’s plans.

The ad-blocker would “filter out” online adverts deemed to offer users “bad experiences”, the Wall Street Journal has said .

It is expected that Google, which is now owned by umbrella company Alphabet Inc, could introduce the new feature “within weeks” if it goes ahead, the paper’s sources said.

A Google spokesperson told Press Gazette: “We do not comment on rumour or speculation.

“We’ve been working closely with the Coalition for Better Ads and industry trades to explore a multitude of ways Google and other members of the Coalition could support the Better Ads Standards.”

Ad-blocking has disrupted publishers’ ability to create revenue from digital display advertising. It was said to be putting “severe pressure” on the UK news media industry in the 2016 Digital News Report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Chrome already blocks pop-ups in news tabs and shows warnings before malware pages. It also offers a number of ad-block extensions for Chrome which are provided by third parties.

Google’s touted move comes less than a year after Adblock Plus, the most downloaded online ad-blocking software, launched its Acceptable Ads Platform that whitelists types of adverts – a move described by the Internet Advertising Bureau as “cynical”.

Last week, Press Gazette launched its campaign calling on Facebook and Google to stop destroying journalism.

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