Kill Win­dows ads with Opera

With Opera’s lat­est browser, it seems ad block­ing is now of­fi­cially main­stream.

Tech Advisor - - Contents - Lu­cian Con­stantin re­ports

Back in March, Opera added na­tive ad block­ing to a de­vel­oper edition of its browser. Now, the com­pany has pushed that fea­ture into gen­eral re­lease, dra­mat­i­cally de­creas­ing the load time of web pages at the ex­pense of the ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enues that would be driven to the site.

Na­tive ad block­ing is avail­able both as a browser for Win­dows PCs and the Opera Mini browser for An­droid. Block­ing ads not only speeds up the over­all brows­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, ac­cord­ing to Opera, but can also elim­i­nate a huge chunk of data that must be down­loaded by smart­phone users to view a web page.

An Opera spokesman said users could ex­pect roughly the same per­for­mance from the sta­ble ver­sion as they’d ex­pe­ri­enced in the de­vel­oper build, with pages load­ing up to 90 per­cent faster than with ads en­abled. Opera also claimed that build­ing na­tive block­ing into Opera made the browser about 45 per­cent faster than the sta­ble ver­sion of Google’s Chrome browser with AdBlock Plus (a third-party ad blocker) in­te­grated.

“Our goal is to pro­vide the fastest and the smoothest on­line ex­pe­ri­ence for our users,” Krys­tian Kolon­dra, the se­nior vice pres­i­dent in charge of en­gi­neer­ing for Opera, said. “While work­ing on that, we have dis­cov­ered that a lot more time is spent on han­dling ads and track­ers than we thought ear­lier.”

In many ways, ad-block­ing browsers such as Opera rep­re­sent the Nap­ster of on­line jour­nal­ism: a con­ve­nient, ef­fi­cient way to load web pages un­en­cum­bered by the scripts, track­ing pix­els, and ban­ner ads that can re­sult in a bumpy ex­pe­ri­ence. With the demise of print sub­scrip­tions, how­ever, pub­lish­ers will turn to other means of rais­ing rev­enue, in­clud­ing pre­vent­ing a web page from be­ing loaded if a user has an ad blocker en­abled.

Turn off ads

In Opera Mini for An­droid, ads can be turned off by tap­ping the O menu, then tog­gling ads ei­ther on or off. Opera said it will let ads be blocked in both the high- and ex­treme-sav­ing modes.

Ads can be turned off in the desktop ver­sion of Opera ei­ther from the Set­tings menu or from a pop-up that should ap­pear when the first page is loaded. Whitelist­ing a site can be per­formed by click­ing the shield icon, which turns ad block­ing on or off. As in the de­vel­oper build, you’ll be able to see how many ads you’ve blocked per page, and even load the page with ads turned on and off in a side-by-side com­par­i­son.

The new build also adds two un­re­lated fea­tures that are worth check­ing out. The desktop ver­sion of Opera in­cludes a video pop-out fea­ture, which shunts a play­ing video to the side of your screen. Opera Mini also adds a fea­ture to add web pages to your home screen, Opera said.

In last year’s tests, Opera de­liv­ered the fastest web brows­ing ex­pe­ri­ence avail­able, roughly equiv­a­lent to Google’s Chrome. Now, with ad block­ing turned on, Opera could surge to the front of the pack.

Opera’s lat­est browser im­me­di­ately en­cour­ages you to be­gin block­ing ads

The new ver­sion of Opera will show you how many ads it found on the page

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