Adblock Plus Google Play exile ends, launches iOS, Android browser

The Adblock Browser is now available in both the Google Play and Apple stores -- at least, for now.

Adblock Plus has launched a mobile browser for Android and iOS, giving users the chance to surf the web without being distracted by advertisements.

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Adblock Plus is an open-source project which develops browser extensions that block advertisements, pop-ups, video ads and potential sources of malvertising -- adverts which lead to malware or malicious links and counterfeit websites.

Adblock Plus is both a source of delight to users and consternation to companies which rely on an advertising-supported model to run online services.

This week, reports suggested that Google's Chrome browser clamped down on the extension by removing 'skip' options from embedded video ads if Adblock Plus was present when a YouTube video was being watched. While you'd be forgiven for believing the bypass was intentional, a Chromium developer said the scenario was actually an unintended consequence of patching a security issue.

Despite the explanation, the report does highlight that software such as Adblock Plus may force online services to rethink their revenue models. In the meantime, users can take advantage of the new, free browsers to declutter their web surfing.

On Tuesday, Adblock Plus announced the launch of Adblock Browser for Android. The browser has been in beta testing since late May and the inclusion in the Google Play store signals a turnabout for the tech giant, which originally removed the open-source app and other ad-blocking services from the app store in 2013.

At the time, Google said the apps were removed for "interference with another service or product in an unauthorized manner."

In a press release, Till Faida, co-founder of Adblock Plus said the company was "excited and grateful" to return to the Play store, commenting:

"As annoying and irritating ads have spread fast to mobile devices, we are still championing the user, offering the ability to block ads and thereby giving them faster browser speeds and longer battery life, not to mention keeping them safe from malvertising exploits."

The Adblock Browser for Android is touted to save battery life and load pages faster due to its inbuilt ad blocker, keep you safe from the risks of malvertising -- which can result in malware infections or data theft -- as well as offer custom filters and tracking. If you wish to support a website and allow adverts, you can also whitelist services.

At the same time, Adblock Browser for iOS is now available. The browser offers the same ad-blocking services of its Android counterpart, and also claims to provide smoother scrolling, easier bookmarking and enhanced keyboard features which Safari does not offer.

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