Google Chrome to block heavy ads that use too many system resources

Chrome to unload ad iframes that use too much bandwidth and CPU.

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Chrome engineers are working on a feature that will unload online ads that are using too many system resources, such as network bandwidth and CPU processing power.

Work on the feature -- named "Heavy Ad Intervention" -- began last month.

"This change introduces a feature that unloads ad iframes that have been detected to use an egregious amount of system resources," Google engineer John Delaney wrote in a code commit describing the new feature.

"This intervention unloads ads that are in the .1% of bandwidth usage, .1% of CPU usage per minute, and .1% of overall CPU time. The current numbers are 4MB network and 60 seconds CPU, but may be changed as more data is available."

When this happens, Chrome will find the ad's iframe and unload the ad's content, and then use the same technology that's behind the Safe Browsing errors to show a custom message instead of the resource-intensive ad.

Tech news site 9to5Google, who first spotted the Heavy Ad Intervention feature, was able to reproduce this error message, which looks like the image below.

Heavy Ad Intervention message

Image via 9to5Google.com

Work on this feature is still in its incipient stages and a reason why access to the official Chromium bug tracker entry is currently closed to outsiders.

New feature is part of a bigger effort to sanitize ads

Google's efforts to make ads more friendly in Chrome come as the company is preparing to enable Chrome's built-in ad blocker by default in all Chrome instances starting next week, July 9.

Chrome built-in ad blocker will block "all ads" on websites that don't show user-friendly adverts, as described by the Better Ads Standards, of which Google is a member.

Furthermore, Chrome engineers have also rolled out security protections to Chrome that also prevent ad slots (iframes) from initiating unwanted downloads, a technique often abused by malvertising (malicious ads) and used to infect users with malware.

With advertising being a primary source of revenue for both Google and most of today's online websites, the company's engineers are now trying to restore a balance and a sense of health to this crucial ecosystem keeping most internet websites alive and kicking.

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