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Samsung's AdBlock Fast Removed From the Play Store (androidheadlines.com) 167

New submitter Alexander Maxham writes with the news reported at Android Headlines that Samsung's ad-blocking Android app called AdBlock Fast "was apparently ousted from the Play Store for violating section 4.4 of the Developer Distribution Agreement, stating that an app cannot disrupt or interfere with devices, networks or other parties' apps and services. (Also noted by Engadget.)
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Samsung's AdBlock Fast Removed From the Play Store

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2016 @08:02PM (#51442733)

    The F-Droid app store allows ad blockers. These are just two:

    https://f-droid.org/repository... [f-droid.org]

    https://f-droid.org/repository... [f-droid.org]

    F-Droid only contains free and open source apps. Each of them is fully built from source. https://f-droid.org/ [f-droid.org]

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Note that the version of AdBlock+ on F-Droid is quite old (2013), because newer versions contain binary blobs.

      AdAway is great. Shame root is required, but if you don't have/want it there are a number of non-root firewall apps that can use HOSTS files.

      Hay, APK, when is your Android version due, and will it need root?

  • So, let me get this straight: Apple is encouraging iOS users to use ad blockers by adding explicit and specific support for them to Safari, while Google is trying to erase ad blockers from existence...

    I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @08:09PM (#51442781)
      What's so crazy about it? Google makes almost all of their money from advertising and Apple makes practically none of theirs that way. Is it that difficult to see that one company would rather sell you a cheap device that serves plenty of ads and the other would rather you pay a premium for a device that will block all the ads?
      • Is it that difficult to see that one company would rather sell you a cheap device that serves plenty of ads and the other would rather you pay a premium for a device that will block all the ads?

        But where is that third option, a premium device with no ads or tracking, that I can do what I want with?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Is it that difficult to see that one company would rather sell you a cheap device that serves plenty of ads and the other would rather you pay a premium for a device that will block all the ads?

          But where is that third option, a premium device with no ads or tracking, that I can do what I want with?

          The Amiga will rise again!

        • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Friday February 05, 2016 @06:07AM (#51444795)

          Buy a good Android device with an unlocked bootloader and use an AOSP based ROM with no gapps. Use Firefox mobile with your favorite blocking extensions as your browser. Use permission control to restrict apps that are a bit too curious. There you have it : premium device, no ads, no tracking. It may not be enough if you wear a tinfoil hat but nothing is good enough for tinfoil hats.
          According to XDA, Sony seems to be the recommended brand because they are developer friendly and produce nice devices. Nexus have good support too. Also don't buy your phone through your carrier.

          It is not as easy as buying a phone off the shelf and there are some downsides but you have understand that what you are asking is not what most people want. People want tracking because it allows plenty of nice features (like Google now), they like free stuff and ads are an effective way of financing free stuff, and they just want things to work out of the box rather than control all the details.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Considering how the Firefox developers currently seems hell-bent on doing away with Adblock as we know it by removing its underpinnings and, more recently, moving in the direction of removing the ability to say "NO" to cookies, I'd be a bit hesitant to endorse them.

          • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

            People don't mind ads until they take over your phone. I hate when viewing a site having an ad pop up to cover what I'm trying to read. That doesn't inspire me to buy anything. I tend to hate the people doing it to the point that if I note what they're selling I vow never to buy it. Getting in my face is the wrong way to sell me anything and I wonder what kind of people actually buy stuff from those shitstains using that kind of method.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, you took stupid pills. As is so fondly said around here: Follow the money.

      Apple's customer base want something that "just works" and lacks clutter. They'll pay a premium for this.

      Google's customer base doesn't mind advertisements and are willing to put up with them as long as it keeps the apps and devices on the cheap.

      While Slashdotters may disagree, these are the facts for about 95% of Android's user base. Most of them don't give a fuck about open source or custom distros, they like getting a cheaper d

      • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @09:13PM (#51443155)

        I'm in Google's customer base, and I want something that just works and lacks clutter, but which is also usable.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Lol no you aren't. Their customer base is the people who PAY them, aka the advertisers. Revenue from devices is non-existant and cloud services like Google Apps is a piss in the ocean.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I'm in Google's customer base

          Only if you're buying advertising space. If you're not buying ad space then you're part of Google's product base.

        • by no1nose ( 993082 )

          Get an iPhone.

      • by wshs ( 602011 ) on Friday February 05, 2016 @01:46AM (#51444185)
        Google's customer base is advertisers. Android users, which pay nothing to Google, don't mind the advertisements.
        • But Google Owned Motorola when I bought my phone. So I did pay Google for the phone and the OS that came with it. There's also the Nexus phones that you can order from Google's website. Sure, some other company makes them, but I'm sure that Google gets a cut of sales.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Google's customer base doesn't mind advertisements and are willing to put up with them as long as it keeps the apps and devices on the cheap.

        Then why are there so many expensive Android phones sold? The latest Galaxy S model costs the same as an iPhone.

        Since there are such a wide variety of Android devices available, you can't really characterize the billion+ owners by price bracket. Also, cheapskates are often the ones who appreciate ad-blocking the most, since if you pay there are usually less ads anyway.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Google's core business is delivering targeted advertising and marketing data, give it away "free" then monetize the hell out of it. They're only opposed to malware and deceptive ads because it hurts their much bigger business of ordinary ads. What on earth made you think Google likes ad blockers? They're all cloud and web apps and put your data online so we can analyze it. And praise Jeebus they didn't get anywhere with G+, if they had Facebook's data too you'd almost have them shoulder surfing with you. Ap

    • You're surprised that an advertising company pulls an ad blocker from their app store?

    • Well Google makes the majority of their money from Ads (90+ percent of their revenue)
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Apple makes it money from selling you hardware/software/services. Apples approach means they can push for privacy because it does not impact the bottom line

      Google makes most of its money from selling adverts. Googles approach means that privacy be damned they need to spy and sell your info.

      Easy to see the difference it attitude.

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      chrome on android has a popup blocker.

      how is that not "interfering with networks" or whatever. it has also "content protection" which is just basically the same thing.

      also chrome app store has no such limitation.

      so what the fuck google what the fuck

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Google is an ad-company (and maybe an NSA front, who knows), while Apple is a devices company.

  • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Thursday February 04, 2016 @08:07PM (#51442763)

    app cannot disrupt or interfere with devices, networks or other parties' apps and services.

    Oooh, ooh, can an app mess with my internet connection by loading many ads? So anything that uses the device bandwidth excessively could also be banned now?

    • Android 6.0 has a feature that allows the user to deny applications specific system privileges, thereby disrupting or interfering other parties' apps and services. Therefore, Android itself needs to be removed from the Android marketplace.
    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      Oooh, ooh, can an app mess with my internet connection by loading many ads? So anything that uses the device bandwidth excessively could also be banned now?

      If it does it in the background than yes, probably. Google banned several apps that were a bit too aggressive running in the background because it interfered with the "doze" feature.
      However, as long as you stay confined within you app, anything goes. There are ad blocking browsers on the Play store, there are also apps that abuse your bandwidth in the foreground, for ads or anything. What is forbidden is for an app to act on another app. And while Google may be a bit partial regarding this rule, it doesn't

  • I don't know what Samsung's ad blocker is doing differently, but Eyeo's Adblock Browser is still available in the Play Store. I have it on my Nexus - no problems, and it makes browsing much nicer. The Android version of Firefox also supports ad blockers. But, people gotta hate on Google.

    • In the case of adblock plus, it's that it functions as a proxy and can prevent ads from being shown in applications (in some cases.) Probably the same here.

    • Maybe the difference is that the AdBlock browser doesn't "interfere" with other apps. It is its own app.

      Unfortunately, the browser isn't a very good or very fast one. I quit using it after a couple of days because it was faster to just browse with ads.

  • I'd rather have ads then paywalls. Youtube is now trying it with the "red" program & if that's the case say good bye to a free internet.
  • Could ba a good argument against Android.

    • So what is the alternative? Apple is too strict, Android is too loose. In desktop land we have Windows which sits in the middle of Apple and Linux, but unfortunately this is not a viable option in mobile land.
      • Windows 10 Mobile does still exist (well, it's technically pre-release right now, but it's easy to get on Windows phones and some even come with it). It's a solid OS that provides a degree of balance between Android and iOS on openness (easy sideloading - easier than Android these days, even - and more permissive than Apple on what an app is allowed to do). There are even new phones with the OS still being announced; it's not as if it's been abandoned.

        Its main problem, of course, is application availability

        • Its main problem, of course, is application availability. Microsoft (and W10M users) is hoping that developers will embrace the Windows 10 Universal app platform,

          I think they've missed the boat on that one. I'm working on a big project that includes a new App (not my team, but I'm across the work). Due to the effort/costs involved, the rule our devs have adopted is only Apps for platforms with at least 10% market share. Which makes sense from a cost/benefit point of view, but if everyone has a similar view it means the likes of Winmobile and Blackberry are dead in the water.

  • ... an app cannot disrupt or interfere with devices, networks or other parties' apps and services.

    I imagine these rules are meant to apply to unintentional/unknown actions, not ones by design for which the user specifically installed the app to perform. Otherwise, all those call/text/spam blocker apps (like Mr. Number) need to go, 'cause they're interfering with things too...

    • ... an app cannot disrupt or interfere with devices, networks or other parties' apps and services.

      I imagine these rules are meant to apply to unintentional/unknown actions, not ones by design for which the user specifically installed the app to perform. Otherwise, all those call/text/spam blocker apps (like Mr. Number) need to go, 'cause they're interfering with things too...

      Google made the rules, and they are the ones that say the ad blocker is breaking them. I'm pretty sure they are the definitive source on what the rules were "meant to do".

    • by Alumoi ( 1321661 )

      Unfortunately Google doesn't think ads are just like spam.
      You and me and any onther thinking being knows it's not true, but for Google and other big corporations it goes like this:
      ads = unsolicited marketing coming from paying individuals
      spam = unsolicited marketing coming from non paying individuals.

  • Where is the APK? Play store is not the only app source for android devices.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So technically, Anti-virus apps should be banned from the Play Store because they "disrupt or interfere" with a virus-containing app? lol

  • The "interfere with other apps" is because a good adblocker can block ads not just in your browser but everywhere on the box- they can deny web connections cleverly, so apps can't refresh their ad-pile.

    On ios, none of these adblockers exist (well, maybe with a jailbreak)- the content blockers function in the ones that use safari to render (so web pages).

    Android also offers other ways to get things like this on your phone.

    It's just two radically different approaches. Google can behave like a general purpose

  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Thursday February 04, 2016 @10:31PM (#51443557)

    Who could have guessed that Google, a company that exists primarily to serve ads, would have a problem with something that blocks ads?

    It's shocking and was completely unforeseen.

    • But what is it of Googles any business what I block on my phone or what traffic shaping I do ? Sure the play store is theirs but then they can fuck off and let me remove all google related stuff from the phone with out having to root it.

      • by Alumoi ( 1321661 )

        But what is it of Googles any business what I block on my phone or what traffic shaping I do ? Sure the play store is theirs but then they can fuck off and let me remove all google related stuff from the phone with out having to root it.

        Your phone, their OS. If you don't like it, don't buy it.
        Or grow some balls, root your phone and erase everything Google. Better yet, install a pure AOSP build with no gapps.

      • But what is it of Googles any business what I block on my phone or what traffic shaping I do ?

        None, from what I can see. What's your point?

        Sure the play store is theirs but then they can fuck off and let me remove all google related stuff from the phone with out having to root it.

        Then root your phone or get a different brand or whatever you like. I'm not stopping you.

        I'm just pointing out that it should come as no surprise to anyone with an IQ above room temperature that a company whose raison d'être is to serve ads would have a problem with something that blocks ads.

  • What's being left out is that Google is NOT blocking an Adblocker, (this was quickly covered by real tech news sites, some of which *gasp* actually reached out to Google to fact check before blindly parroting 'news'.) Instead, they are blocking Adblockers that violate Google's terms of use. (modifying system files, interfering with other apps, etc.) You are perfectly welcome to build, publish, and even sell ad blockers. You aren't permitted to break functionality of other apps.
  • I thought the very purpose of an app is to interfere with devices, networks or other parties' apps and services.
  • by danbob999 ( 2490674 ) on Friday February 05, 2016 @08:36AM (#51445175)

    Available in the play store, and supports ad-blocking extensions.

  • The fact that they're not in the Google Play Store shouldn't stop you.

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