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Opera brings native ad blocking to its desktop and mobile browsers

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Earlier this year, Opera introduced built-in ad blocking for the developer version of its browser. Now, it's making the same feature available in its regular software for both desktop and mobile devices.

The company claims that native ad blocking makes browsing the web even faster than using a third-party ad blocker or add-on, and that it reduces RAM consumption, too. The native ad blocker is deactivated by default in the browser, but can be turned on by accessing the Settings or Preferences menu. The company has also released a new tool letting users compare the loading speed of specific sites with and without ads.

Ad blocking on Opera's mobile browser. (Image credit: Opera)

Opera isn't the only company using ad blocking as a feature to attract users. In 2015, Apple opened up ad blocking on iOS 9, leading to a surge of third-party apps, and this year, Samsung began supporting ad blocking on its Android browser (although this was later shut down by Google). Former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich launched a browser dedicated to ad blocking and supporting publishers via other means, and just this week, Adblock Plus launched a way to "tip" websites — supposedly mitigating the lost revenues caused by ad-blockers

All in all, ad blocking has become a bit of a free-for-all, and for Opera it might be a way to attract new users. Currently, the browser is way out behind rivals Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer, with 60 million desktop users and around 120 million monthly mobile users. But with features like built-in ad blocking — and an integrated free VPN launched in its developer browser — it's certainly attracting a little more attention.