The Future of Ad-Blocking Would Search for Content, not Codes

April 18, 2017, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Ad-blockers are widely used in modern day browsers, but they are still miles off from achieving perfection. Even the mightiest of ad-blockers fail to identify and hide numerous ads spread across webpages. But that won’t be the case if this newly developed ad-detector is put in action.

Researchers from Princeton and Stanford has now uncovered a tool that can detect ads more precisely than the existing ones. That’s because it does not forage the codes related to ads in a webpage, and instead monitors the ad visually like humans to detect whether it’s an ad or not.

Developed by lead scientist Arvind Narayanan, this potentially undefeatable ad-blocker perceptually scans for actual content inside the posts and pages that include words and pictures to detect disguised ads. The job is easier as most of the ads come with labels as per the rules, for not misleading consumers.

As with modern day ad-blockers, these ads easily skip past the radars with the help of tweaks in codes. But a perceptual scanning of the content means that it would become nearly impossible for ads to stay disguised.

However, the tool hasn’t yet been enabled for blocking ads, but is only available now to identify the ads in a webpage. As of now, it simply puts label indicating the ad-presence over the respective contents. But that said, it’s possible that ad-blockers could find resort in a similar tool to make it impossible for ads to skip the hurdle of being detected.

This is not the first-time that the specified ad-detecting tool has been put to action. A Facebook-specific version of the tool was already made available in November last year to help users detect ad easily when Facebook announced its plans to make ads resemble regular posts. It’s the same tool that has now got the expansion out of Facebook.

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