UPDATED: 1.25.2010 UPDATE #2
One of the most important aspects of a web browser today is how good it is at blocking ads. Today Google announced that it has released a Windows version that has the ability to use extensions. This means that extensions are ready for the masses.
Users thinking about switching to Chrome from Firefox NEED to have a reliable ad blocker. The two best ad hidders are AdThwart and AdBlock. I call them ad hidders because currently Chrome is unable to block ads the way we are accustomed to seeing with Firefox. Until Chrome developers add this functionality, these two extensions are forced to simply edit the CSS on the fly. They both support EasyList, but that doesn’t mean they are both equally effective and user friendly. I decided to compare a vareity of categories that I look for in an ad blocker.
Have a look at my chart below which goes into detail about each extension
The winner is AdThwart!
Both produce similar speed results, both are maintained and updated on a near daily basis, both have a wide user base, both hide most ads, both have friendly and bright developers working on them.
AdBlock has issues with it’s icon to show if a site is blocked or not. The icon is actually a separate extension, so if you disable AdBlock, the icon remains. That is a glaring issue for ease of use. I also have no idea how to edit the custom filters I applied, what happens if I end up blocking all images by accident? Those of you who care about open source, AdBlock is not entirely clear on the subject, whereas AdThwart is open source.
The issue of speed I want to touch on in more detail. At first glance, the speed tests seem to be inconsistent when it comes to speed of a page with no extensions applied. TechCrunch takes a lot longer to load when advertisements are present, but MSN is much quicker when ads are present. How can this be you ask? Well, it depends on the type of advertisements on the site. MSN has ads that don’t require the browser to render them as much as TechCrunch, therefore when we add the added time it takes for the extensions to hide the ads. . . it actually takes longer to load. However, I am pleased to see in testing that for the majority of websites, hiding ads does make load times faster. The fact that AdThwart is a tiny bit faster may not mean much because it is probably not even noticeable.
So where does this test leave us? AdBlock needs to go back to the drawing board for the icon implementation, provide more details on if the extension is open source or not, and revamp custom filters. The majority of users should be more pleased with AdThwart’s ease of use and custom filter implementation.