Google announced on Tuesday that very soon it will start down-ranking mobile sites that, on loading, prompt users to install an app through a pop-up that covers the complete page so that no content is visible. Though these ads can be closed with the help of an X, locating that X is often a big task.
Great favor for users
The app install ads are not a problem as long as they do not hinder the visitor from performing the task for which they visited the site. The problem arises when these ads are huge enough to act as an obstacle. At times, it happens that the X is so small that users end up clicking next to it and on the ad itself, after which they are redirected to Google Play for downloading the app. This generally frustrates users.
With the update, Google will soon introduce a mobile-friendly test that will inform the sites when they are required to avoid such app install ads. Beginning Nov. 1, the sites will start losing their “mobile-friendly” status if they show app install ads that are big enough to cover a “significant amount of content on transition from the search result page.” This will lower their ranking on Google’s mobile search results page. Sites using the standard app install banners, which are smaller, in Chrome and Safari browsers won’t be punished by Google.
Yelp’s founder questions Google’s intentions
Google’s move has been called foul by several people who say the search giant fears losing users. Yelp founder Jeremy Stoppelman accuses the Internet giant of trying to take control of the entire app field. “From our vantage point, it’s clear: A user who downloads an app is a user who’s less likely to perform a Google search in the future,” he said. Stoppelman said that if users install the Yelp app, there are little chances of them using Google for searching local businesses after that. The same can be said for things like JustEat or Redfin.
It can be argued that Google has taken this step to make users stay on the browser because it is better at monetizing on the web than in mobile apps. But the fact remains that such ads are annoying, and the Internet firm has done users a great favor by cracking down on this.