Chrome Will Soon Force Resource Heavy Ads To Be More Efficient


Google is now working to ensure that resource-heavy ads in Chrome can no longer act without consequence. That's according to a recently reported blog post from the company. Specifically, the company says that it will now target and shut-down ads that are particularly hard on CPU usage or battery life. That should prove to be a boon for mobile users or those who are capped-data or Wi-Fi plans.

To accomplish that goal, Google will limit the resources available to ads via thresholds. If an ad reaches those thresholds before the user has even interacted with the ad, its frame will be re-routed to a lightweight error page. That's intended to inform the user that the ad was using up their resources. It should also serve as an indicator to advertisers and developers if ads are out of the pre-determined bounds.

As of this writing, Google is targetting apps that use more CPU or network bandwidth than 99.9-percent of ads for a given resource. That means it's setting those to 4MB of network data or 15-seconds of CPU usage. The search giant says that its measures will only negatively impact around 0.3-percent of the total current advertisement. But that will amount to extensive savings for the end-user.


In total, those ads account for 27-percent of network data used and 28-percent of CPU usage by ads. So that should equate to relatively massive savings on both fronts.

When exactly are less resource-heavy ads coming?

Now, as is always the case with Chrome changes, Google is prepared to give developers plenty of time to fix things. So the experience shouldn't be too disruptive when it does arrive. Instead, things should just be better in terms of battery life and data usage.

More directly, Google says it plans to experiment with the restrictions and thresholds for heavy ads in Chrome over the next several months. The "intervention" will be launched on the stable version of the browser near the end of August. That puts its roll-out right around the launch period for Chrome 85 — tentatively landing August 18 for desktop and 25 for Chrome OS.


That will, Google says, extend the rollout over a long enough period that ad creators and tool providers can work the new "thresholds into their workflows."

This is part of a significantly larger project

In terms of ads, this is not the first step taken by Google when it comes to correcting abusive behaviors in Chrome. In fact, the company has launched a whole slew of policy changes and features over the past several years. Each of those generally works to make the experience better and less "abusive" for end-users.

Ads are also only one area those efforts have extended. The company's policies have, of course, included changes to make it against the rule for sites to run misleading or harmful ads. Pop-ups, ads with fake close buttons, and others are against the rules too. But that falls directly in line with changes that make it difficult for sites to get a free pass when they use unclearly designed purchasing or subscription interfaces.


That's really just the start. The latest of the incoming changes takes things a step further. It focuses more clearly on users' data usage and on the battery drain caused by ads. As noted above, for a select few of those, the savings should be significant. And that should drastically the experience on mobile devices or online. That's especially true where less powerful or more efficiency-focused hardware is concerned.