It seems certain that we've all managed to wind up on a website at some point in time that had misleading elements, such as fake download buttons. While piracy is going to be the first thing that springs to many minds when this kind of sketchiness is brought up, it's hardly exclusive to that area. Some websites that host completely legitimate software still have misleading advertising, and let's face it: we've been dealing with it for way too long.
Well, if Google has its way, we're not going to have to worry about such misleading advertising in the future. Back in November, the company released an update to its Chrome Web browser that helps protect users from deceptive tactics (causing you to install malware or exposing your private information), and now, it's expanding those tools.
Going forward, Chrome is going to be able to recognize when a webpage has deceptive advertising, whether it's a fake download button or a fake prompt that suggests that the user needs to update their software. Here's an example of the latter:
In the process of detecting poor ads like these, Google abides by the following checklist to flag them:
- Pretend to act, or look and feel, like a trusted entity — like your own device or browser, or the website itself.
- Try to trick you into doing something you’d only do for a trusted entity — like sharing a password or calling tech support.
This kind of detection seems so overdue, it's a wonder why Google hadn't jumped on blocking these misleading ads long ago. For that matter, it'd be nice to see Google's competitors make the same commitments. Picture this: How many times have you had to fix someone's PC because of ads like these? Even once is far too many.
At least Google is now getting the ball rolling. Let's hope it won't take long to spread to the competition, so that we may see an end to these ads for good.