Using Microsoft's new Edge browser? Now you can use a popular utility called Adblock Plus to sweep away advertisements that can pop in front of website content, slow loading speeds, drain your phone batteries, invade your privacy -- and provide the revenue websites need to survive.
Adblock Plus already has been available for other browsers, including Microsoft's old Internet Explorer. But Edge, the default browser for Windows 10, couldn't run the ad blocker until today. It requires the new Windows 10 anniversary edition, which Microsoft is gradually distributing to customers. So not everyone will get the ad blocker immediately, said Eyeo, the German developer of the browser extension, in a blog post Tuesday.
Eyeo is a controversial company. It advocates non-pesky ads, and Adblock Plus users can set the browser extension not to block these "acceptable ads." But big publishers including Google that want Eyeo to sidestep this ad-blocking must pay Eyeo. That's why one online ad executive called the developer's approach a "ransom note."
Online ads support many free websites, but they can be intrusive, annoying and even sometimes be used to launch malware attacks on people's computers. PageFair, a company that tries to help publishers show minimally intrusive ads that ad-blockers won't block, believes 198 million people actively use ad blockers. Wired magazine this year began restricting content to people using ad blockers unless they disable ad blocking for Wired or pay $1 a week.
Edge, like Apple's Safari and more recently Mozilla's Firefox, follows Google's approach with Chrome when it comes to extending the browser's abilities, but Adblock Plus developers had to wait months for Microsoft to build the technology into Edge.