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Samsung's Android browser gets ad blocking capabilities

Samsung's Android browser gets ad blocking capabilities


Content blocking plugins are now supported in Samsung Internet

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Samsung is today adding support for content and ad blocking plugins to the web browser preinstalled on its Android phones. The updated browser, which is being pushed to Samsung phones with Android Marshmallow starting today, with plans for Lollipop availability in the coming months, will let users install helper apps that block ads from websites they visit, similar to how content and ad blocking works in Apple's Safari browser in iOS 9. An ad or content blocker could reduce loading times and mobile data usage, as web pages loaded without ads are much smaller than those with advertising enabled.

Content blockers on mobile devices caused quite a commotion when iOS 9 was released this past September, but once the initial hype died down, blockers fell from the top ranks of Apple's App Store, indicating that they haven't really caught on outside of early adopters. Blocking ads and other content on Android has not been as simple as installing a browser extension, and Google's own Chrome browser, which is preinstalled on Android phones, often alongside another browser, such as Samsung's Internet, does not yet support content blockers. Some third-party browsers, such as the recently announced Brave, offer integrated ad-blocking features, but have not proven to be nearly as popular as Chrome. As a result, while blocking ads on desktop browsers is a common practice, most people don't bother blocking them on mobile.

The first content blocker available for Samsung's Internet is Adblock Fast, which is also available for iOS and Chrome and Opera on the desktop. Adblock Fast is free to install and open source, and already boasts 200,000 users across the various platforms it's available on. The company says that the plugin decreases load times on Android by an average of 51 percent. It is available to phones with Samsung Internet 4.0 via the Google Play Store. Crystal, one of the earliest and most popular iOS content blockers, is also now available for Samsung's browser.

Adblock Fast in Samsung Internet

(Adblock Fast)

It's not clear how many Samsung users will actually make use of content blockers now that they are available, nor is it clear how many actually use Samsung's browser instead of Google Chrome. It's very likely that if you're the type of person that's aware of content blockers, you're also the type of person that would use Google Chrome instead of Samsung's browser on your Android device. But if you've recently switched from an iPhone to a Samsung device and missed the ability to block ads, you can now get back to an ad-free internet experience.

Update, 2.15AM ET, Feb 1st: Added details on Crystal's release.

Update, 10:23AM ET, Feb 1st: Clarified availability.