Google has removed ad blocking app Adblock Plus from the Google Play store. Adblock Plus said this "unilateral move by Google threatens consumer choice."
So, why has Google pulled ad blocking apps? According to the firm, Adblock Plus "interferes with or accesses another service or product in an unauthorized manner", which Google said is a violation of section 4.4 of its Developer Distribution Agreement.
This full section of Google's Developer Distribution Agreement reads:
You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Market, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorised manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator.
In simple terms, Google basically said that ad blocking apps stop it from making money. With the Adblock Plus app acting to block adverts, which is where Google makes its cash, well, you get the point.
This isn't the first time it has gunned for Adblock Plus. The app developer told The INQUIRER that in late February Google began forcing Android users to manually configure a proxy server in order to run Adblock Plus, and last December Google recategorized Adblock Plus in the Chrome web store and stopped showing it in search results.
"I realize that advertising revenue is important to Google, but understand that Adblock Plus does not automatically block all ads; we simply allow users the choice [of] whether to block ads or whitelist them," Till Faida, co-founder of Adblock Plus, said via email. "We even encourage advertising that is done appropriately and conforms to an Acceptable Ads policy, which is debated and decided in an open public forum. By unilaterally removing these apps, Google is stepping all over the checks and balances that make the Internet democratic. People should be really alarmed by this move."
The Adblock Plus app can still be downloaded directly from its website.
Google didn't give us much of a comment. A spokesperson said, quite simply, "We remove apps from Google Play that violate our policies."