Google has removed a Samsung-supported ad-blocking app from its Play Store, just days after its launch. The search engine giant has had issues with Android developed ad-blocking apps in the past, however, this is the first ad-blocking app to be pulled from the Play Store.
The Samsung-backed Adblock Fast app, which was launched on 31 January, blocks ads in Samsung's mobile internet browser, using the Korean tech giant's own code. Google pulled the app, which was developed by Rocketship Apps, citing policy breach issues.
Brian Kennish, lead developer at Rocketship Apps said that he received an email from Google, which said that the app breached a company policy that allows Google to restrict any activity that interferes with other apps and services. According to a NextWeb report, Kennish shared the email which said: "I reviewed Adblock Fast, com.rocketshipapps.adblockfast, and found that it violates section 4.4 of the Developer Distribution Agreement. This particular app has been disabled as a policy strike."
What is section 4.4?
Google's section 4.4 is part of an agreement policy that all Android developers must sign. The clause outlines that a product 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," cannot be allowed.
It is somewhat baffling that Google would find Adblock Fast breaching company policy when the app is completely backed by Samsung and even uses the tech giant's code. Coincidentally, Adblock Plus, which is a popular Android ad-blocking app, also uses the same code and has faced no issues with Google so far. There is, however, a key difference between the two apps, despite them sharing similar coding. While Adblock Plus is limited to blocking ads only within its own software, Adblock Fast on the other hand, blocks all ads within Samsung's internal browser as well.
Given that Google earns a large share of its revenue from advertising, an app like Adblock Fast, which limits the reach of its ads considerably, would probably be a cause for concern for the tech giant.
It is still uncertain whether the app developers will be able to get Adblock Fast back up online. The app's official Twitter page posted a tweet earlier today (4 February), encouraging users to sign up for an email update on when the app would be made available for Android users again.