Google kills popular ad-blocking app

stalin-googleSearch engine outfit Google has pulled a popular ad-blocking app from its Google Store claiming that it violates developer guidelines.

Called Adblock Fast, the plug-in from startup Rocketship Apps worked within Samsung’s mobile browser thanks to a partnership with the phone maker, which opened an API this week allowing third-party developers to build content blocking features for the preinstalled Samsung Internet app.

According to Rocketship developer Brian Kennish, Google says Adblock Fast violates section 4.4 of of its Developer Distribution Agreement, which disallows apps or plugins offered through the Play Store from “interfering” or “disrupting” devices, networks, or services of third parties. In this case it would appear the network involved is Google’s advertising network.

It seems that since the removal of Adblock Fast, two other Android ad blocking plug-ins working with Samsung’s browser have sprouted up: Crystal, the popular iOS ad blocker, and Adblock Plus. It’s unclear if Google simply hasn’t caught on to the competitors, or if Rocketship did something specifically to violate the Play Store guidelines.

Adblock Plus tried in 2013 to put out an Android ad blocker only to run into a similar issue, and the company was only recently allowed to distribute its app again, by bundling it within the company’s own browser.

Firefox allows ad blockers to be installed on its Android browser as plug-ins, but only through the browser itself. Samsung could similarly distribute Adblock Fast through its own preloaded app store on Galaxy devices.