Google released the Chrome for Android browser shortly after the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Chrome for the Android platform aimed to replicate many of the desktop and laptop application benefits, being high performance, clean and lightweight. Over the years, Chrome has evolved although it is not the only web browser available on the Android platform: far from it! As well as the larger names, such as Firefox, there are several smaller companies developing and maintaining a web browser plus we’ve seen manufacturers improving their own web browser, such as ASUS and Samsung. As we settle into 2016, one of the browser trends we are seeing continue to gain media attention is that of ad blocking.
Ad blocking does a few things. Firstly, and most obvious, it stops many adverts from appearing in opened web pages. Different browsers and technologies work in different ways here. Some ad blockers remove all adverts whereas others only remove those not considered to be relevant for or by the user. Another side effect of removing adverts is that it can reduce bandwidth consumed by the device in question as the browser does not need to download the advert content. This in turn can reduce the risk of malware infecting our devices, depending on what websites we are browsing to. Now, unfortunately a side effect of using an ad blocking technology is that it reduces the advertising revenue that websites make. Many websites are free to browse, but the owner, operator, developer and hosting company usually require some form of compensation for the site, which usually comes from the advertising revenue generated. As ad blockers become more and more sophisticated and block things such as tracking, so it has a greater impediment on businesses such as Google, which rely on tracking user activity and providing anoymous information to advertising agencies. This is why Google tend to remove those products and services that use ad blocking technologies from the Google Play Store. This is almost certainly one of the reasons why Samsung’s browser contains the necessary ad blocking framework but not the plugin itself.
This brings us to the Link Bubble web browser, a small and clever Android web browser weighing in at a little over 3 MB. Link Bubble’s greatest feature is how when a link is clicked, the website is loaded in the background and the application you clicked the link from is still showing in the foreground. Once the page is loaded, it shows the user on the screen. This technology may be used to load multiple web pages in the background and allows Android to flex its multitasking muscle. The developers have even thought of a timer that shows you how much time you are saving by not waiting for the page to download and instead contuining to use the source application. The Link Browser has very recently been updated and now includes ad blocking and anti-tracking technologies in addition to the clever way it handles web pages. The ad blocking option is not turned on by default, but a quick visit to the application settings menu and a toggle is all that’s required to activate this. It’s possible that Google will move to remove or suspend the Link Bubble app, so if you use this browser, be sure to grab the update.