Daniel Eran Dilger:
Imagine what could happen if Apple introduced Safari 5 at WWDC with support for a plugin API (as sort of postulated, teased, hinted or simply hoped for by John Gruber this week), and then demonstrated this new plugin architecture with a free, bundled plugin that blocked web ads. This would be a bit like Tivo for the web, except far easier to do in a way that web advertisers would notice.
Web blocking plugins are common on Firefox and Chrome, and already exist for Safari (using undocumented or deprecated APIs like SIMBL/InputManager). However, no major browser vendor, and certainly no major platform vendor, has ever shipped their browser with an ad-block plugin, and certainly not one that was activated by default.
I tell you what would happen – a drop in depression and a rise in productivity.
Web ads are a noxious weed choking the intelligence and sophistication out of our society’s media, and Google is making its massive fortunes delivering this scourge. Do no evil? How ridiculous, that’s Google’s core competency!
This would be bigger than the iPhone and iPad combined. I could not agree more with Dilger on this topic, the questions comes down to: has Steve Jobs thought about this. That we won’t know unless he releases something like this. I think Jobs is very proud of Safari – it always gets talked up when there is a new version. If you have click2flash installed or any other ad blockers you know just how much better the web is without ads. Imagine that as a native instrument, and Apple was the one implementing it.
Google would declare all out war with Apple. There would be new ads that bypass it, and new updates to Safari that block the new ads. It would be phenomenally entertaining to watch (much like how Apple went back and forth with Palm over syncing in iTunes for the Pre).