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Safari support completes Adblock Plus five-browser sweep

All the top desktop browsers now can use a plug-in that blocks Web site ads -- except for nonintrusive ones from companies that pay to be whitelisted.

Adblock Plus logo

Adblock Plus, a browser plug-in that wipes what it deems to be more intrusive advertisements off the Web, has completed its sweep of the top browsers on personal computers with the release of a version for Safari.

The Adblock Plus beta for Safari on OS X joins versions already available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer. The company doesn't support Safari on iOS devices, though it does have a version for Android phones.

"Our goal is to make the Internet better for everyone by empowering people to block obnoxious ads while simultaneously encouraging websites to run user-friendly, responsible advertisements instead of intrusive banners, overlays, and pop-ups," Till Faida, the co-founder of Adblock Plus, said in a statement Tuesday.

The company has taken an unusual approach: it blocks only ads that aren't permitted through a whitelisting process. Whitelisting is free for small publishers but not for large ones, and Adblock Plus will only whitelist ads that meet its acceptable ads policy for non-intrusiveness. For example, all pop-ups or ads that obscure a Web page are banned.

Adblock Plus shouldn't be confused with AdBlock, a different browser plug-in that works in Chrome, Safari, and Opera and that like Adblock Plus is an open-source project. AdBlock says it's "unimpressed" with Adblock Plus' for-fee whitelisting approach and simply blocks all ads.

Ad blockers can free the Web from pesky distractions -- but those pesky distractions are often what pay the bills for Web sites. With both AdBlock and Adblock Plus, users can fine-tune behavior to allow ads on some sites, and with Adblock Plus, users can set it to block all ads, not just whitelisted ones.

The Adblock Plus Safari plug-in still has some issues, particularly when used with Safari 5.1 or 7.0, Adblock Plus said. "It's been thoroughly tested, but we are still hoping to get valuable user feedback to optimize performance," Faida said.