Echoing Apple's support of ad blocking technology in its latest version of Safari (a move which sent shockwaves through the mobile advertising world), Samsung has elected to allow ad blocking plugins in its new Samsung Internet app for Android, enabling users to download software that will block all ads within their browser.
The updated browser will be pushed out to Samsung phones running Android Lollipop or newer starting today, and boasts several updated functions, but the support for content and ad blocking technology is sure to be the most notable.
At least one content blocker is already available for the browser. Adblock Fast, a free, open source ad blocker, is already used by 200,000 consumers across Safari on iOS, along with Chrome and Opera on desktop, and claims it can reduce load times on Android by an average of 51 per cent.
Support for ad blockers is becoming an increasingly divisive topic in the mobile world, with the companies behind the technology arguing that poor practices by the advertising industry have driven consumers to ad blockers in increasing numbers, while publishers, marketers and industry figures claim that ad blocking threatens the free nature of the ad-supported internet, and will see sites closing down due to lost revenues. Randall Rothenburg, president and CEO of the IAB, recently accused ad blocking firms of being an "old-fashioned extortion racket".
There are several third party browsers available that directly integrate content blocking technology, but they have not proven as popular as standard apps like Safari and Google's Chrome, which doesn't support ad blocking. While the introduction of ad-blocking support to Safari saw several blockers race to the top of Apple's App Store initially, they have since fallen back down, suggesting that beyond a core group of early adopters, ad blocking is still relatively limited.
The move to support ad blockers is likely Samsung's attempt to provide Chrome with some competition as the dominant browser on Android. With many customers likely to switch straight to Chrome as their default browser on a new phone, Samsung are no doubt hoping that the ad block support, along with their other new features, will cause at least a few to remain with its own internet app.