Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Untangling The Web Take Back Your Bandwidth!

Updated: October 8, 2015 4:30 am

Now you can block those annoying ads. A lot of these ads are not just intrusive; they are invasive as well. The intrusive one will just get in the way and annoy you. The invasive ones can actually track what you do online. But quite apart from the privacy implications of these trackers, there are some very practical concerns to consider as well

Faster browsing

When you use an ad blocker, you will notice that your web browsing experience has suddenly become much faster. The ads don’t just get in the way; they also slow down how long the web page takes to load. Rather than just loading the content you want to see, a news article for example, the site might also load a few image-based ads, a couple of video ads and, perhaps, an animation thrown in for good measure. To see this for yourself, visit an e-commerce website. After you’ve done this, visit a news website. The e-commerce site will load much faster than the news site. This is because the e-commerce site has vastly fewer, or no, third-party ads compared to the news site.

Increased battery life

All these ads don’t just take longer to load; they also make your browser work harder. Instead of just loading some text and an image for instance, your browser needs to also load all the extra content and different formats for each ad. This means your browser has to work harder, which causes it to consume more energy, translating into decreased battery life, if you’re using a laptop or a mobile.

Lower bandwidth usage

Perhaps the most important practical impact of using an ad blocker is that it can drastically reduce the amount of bandwidth you consume, especially if you do a lot of browsing on your mobile. All those ads add up to a considerable amount of bloat on a web page, and this can seriously affect your data consumption.

Les Orchard, a computer scientist at Mozilla (makers of the Firefox browser), recently ran an experiment to measure the amount of bloat caused by third-party ads on a web page. He looked at a typical news article on a popular technology news website, and found that the actual content of the article was only 75 kilobytes. The ads and trackers on this page, however, from 20 different third parties, amounted to a whopping 12 megabytes of data. Depending on your monthly allowance, you can do the math on how many pages you will be able to visit before you run out of data.

There you have it—simply installing an ad blocker can help improve your web experience by making your browser run faster, improving your battery life and reducing the amount of bandwidth you use. But there are also serious privacy concerns around these ad trackers, and they warrant an article to themselves, which we will look at next time.

By Sanjay K Bissoyi

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