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Google’s Play Store Rejects Ad Blocker App For Samsung Browser
Days after its launch in the Android app store, Adblock Fast has been removed because it violated Google’s guidelines.
The Google Play app store has removed a newly popular ad blocking app for the Samsung mobile browser.
Adblock Fast, a mobile app in Google Play, works with the new Content Blocker Extension API that Samsung recently introduced in its mobile browser, which is installed as the default browser on its Android phones. The API supports third-party plugins that will block ads on the mobile web, and the free Adblock Fast was the first out of the gate.
Adblock Fast is made by Rockship Apps, whose founder and CEO, Brian Kennish, told TechCrunch that Google cited a violation of a section of the Android Developer Distribution Agreement, which says in part:
“You agree that you will not engage in any activity with the Store, including the development or distribution of Products, that interferes with, disrupts, damages, or accesses in an unauthorized manner the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator.”
The implication is that Adblock Fast somehow interferes with the Samsung browser. Kennish, however, has indicated that he has worked in cooperation with Samsung.
He told VentureBeat:
“The only app Adblock Fast interacted with in any way was the Samsung Internet browser and only using Samsung’s API [that we helped them define]. I wonder how many Google engineers would call using an API, ‘interfering’.”
A source close to the matter confirmed to Marketing Land that the app has been removed from the Play store but added that it is a “unique” situation because it requires two apps — including the browser — to block.
Apparently, browsers that block ads by themselves are fine with Google. This includes ones with built-in blocking, like the Adblock Plus browser, or those that use extensions, like Firefox, Javelin and Dolphin browsers. What’s not fine: extensions distributed as APKs in the Play store.
An APK is an Android application package used for distributing and installing mobile apps.
Other ad blockers that work with the Samsung browser, like Crystal and Adblock Plus, are still available in the store. But Crystal’s developer says a update has been declined by Google, which cited the same section in the developer’s agreement.
Google provided the same blanket statement to us as it has to other publications:
“While we don’t comment on specific apps, we can confirm that our policies are designed to provide a great experience for users and developers.”