“1 out of every 5 feedback reports from Chrome users on desktop mention encountering some type of unwanted content, and we take this feedback seriously when considering how to improve Chrome,” says Ryan Schoen, a product manager at Google working on Chrome performance.
As a result, by early 2018, Chrome will be blocking several types of unwanted and annoying redirects.
The first step will see Chrome start preventing ads (that haven’t been clicked on) from unexpectedly redirecting visitors to another site.
“We’ve found that this redirect often comes from third-party content embedded in the page, and the page author didn’t intend the redirect to happen at all,” Schoen says.
In Chrome 64, these unexpected redirects triggered by third-party iframes will be blocked, users will be notified about it via an infobar, but will remain on the original page and be able to continue their browsing.
Secondly, the browser will prevent actions that are aimed at circumventing Chrome’s pop-up blocker, i.e. instances when clicking a link opens the desired destination in a new tab, while the main window navigates to a different, unwanted page.
“Starting in Chrome 65 we’ll also detect this behavior, trigger an infobar, and prevent the main tab from being redirected. This allows the user to continue directly to their intended destination, while also preserving the context of the page they came from,” Schoen explained.
Finally (and at last!), Chrome will prevent redirects to third-party websites triggered by clicking on advertising links disguised as video play buttons or site controls, or on invisible overlays on websites.
These changes are expected to be rolled out to all users by early 2018.
Google has also offered site owners a dedicated tool to check whether their sites have been guilty of these actions, and a 30-day period to address the problem before the prevention of new windows and tabs is triggered.
Google Chrome is used by and estimated 63% of desktop users worldwide, and 50% of mobile users.