Browser-maker Opera has become the first mainstream desktop software vendor to directly integrated an ad-blocking feature into its software, starting with the latest development release.
Formerly an independently-developed paid-for browser and now an implementation of the Chromium branch of WebKit available to all for free, Opera's latest development release integrated a homebrew advertisement blocking engine which the company claims has a dramatic impact on performance compared to rival browsers using plug-in ad blocking extensions. From the company's own testing, a sample page took ten seconds to load in Microsoft Edge, 7.7 seconds in Google Chrome with AdBlock Plus, 6.4 seconds in Firefox with AdBlock Plus, and just 5.3 seconds in Opera with its built-in ad blocker enabled.
'Advertising fuels the internet, allowing for many services to be free for users. But, as our new research shows, most webpages today are significantly slowed down by bloated ads and heavy tracking,
' explained Krystian Kolondra, head of Opera's desktop browser project. 'We don’t accept it - we want the web to be a better place for us all, as users. Growing demand for ad-blocking tools tells us that the current approach to advertising is damaging user’s online experiences. It interrupts your web-surfing, slows down your browser, and, at Opera, we want to fix it.
While disabled by default, the in-browser ad blocker is quickly turned on by clicking on a shield icon located in the address bar. The system also tracks various statistics including the number of adverts blocked on a given day, week, or in total, and provides a built-in benchmark for checking to see how it affects page load times.
The ad blocker is available now in the development release
, and is expected to appear in the stable releases in the near future.