Ads on Google?
October 17, 2017 12:00 PM   Subscribe

All of a sudden, when I google anything, the top four entries are ads--Amazon and the like. Am I infected?
posted by Transl3y to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Generally if you don't have an ad blocker the top several results on google are ads, including a bar at the top with images. They (google) did something today that has changed this? in some way? it's definitely different looking that I've noticed, so you're not crazy.

I'm not able to install an ad blocker on my work computer so I can't compare it to anything, but my guess would be that if you use an ad blocker and you usually see ZERO ads but are suddenly seeing ads, whatever update google has done has wriggled its way around the blocklist your ad blocker uses. Probably within a day or two an update will roll out and you'll stop seeing them.

If you don't use an ad blocker, my guess would be that your brain got used to tuning out the old way they looked, and the new way is different enough that you're noticing them again. That crafty google.

Anyway, tl;dr, I see them too, it's definitely different today than it was yesterday, I would not be concerned.
posted by phunniemee at 12:14 PM on October 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Are they related to the topic of your searches? For example, if you look for information on a city, are they hotels and vacation ads for that city?

If so, I wouldn't think you're infected, but it may be 1) Google tweaking algorithms and layouts and/or 2) you're searching for things that more companies have paid to associate with their services or products. In my experience, some topics are more prone to get hits for Google ads.

But if they aren't related to your searches, can you give some examples of what you're seeing in general terms, or provide a screenshot? For example, if you search for a city, are you getting ads for clothing, food, or worse, scummy looking "internet accelerators" or "malware software"?
posted by filthy light thief at 12:16 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

A screenshot would be stellar if you can get one. If you can't and want to just run a check, there's always MalwareBytes for PC or Mac. If you're on a mobile device, it's a safe bet that they're legitimate ads.
posted by deezil at 12:26 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you have an ad blocker, and went to one of those sites that makes you whitelist them or pause it, maybe you accidentally turned it all the way off?
posted by ananci at 1:05 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have noticed an increase in top placed ads as well. I don't think you're infected, just Google is being hungry for ad dollars. In an example I just tried, there's actually no real results above the fold, due to four ads, the attempt to answer the search with an excerpt from a page, and "people also ask" questions.
posted by Candleman at 1:38 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

filthy light thief and deezil, I just googled the first word that came to mind--"desks", and the top results were:

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It doesn't look too scummy, but I'm not too happy about it anyway.

I can do a screenshot if that would be better.

And yes, I do have an ad blocker. Ublock origin SAYs it's blocking ads on the search page, but evidently not entirely.
posted by Transl3y at 4:17 PM on October 17, 2017

OK, now that I'm home with my adblocker comforts, I did your desk search. No ads.
AdblockPlus says it's blocking one thing, and uBlock is at 16 blocked requests (and is adding more every few seconds).

Turned off ABP, still no ads. Turned off UB, the ads came on, just like they were on my work computer. Turned ABP back on, ads went away. My ads look the same as the garbage you copied here, so I don't think there's anything BAD about them, they're just obnoxious af.

So anyway, if you're still seeing ads, I bet there was some kind of extension update that rolled out today for whatever this new change is. Have you restarted your browser? On Chrome at least I think you have to restart your browser for extension updates to take effect.
posted by phunniemee at 5:03 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Well, I took your advice phunniemee and restarted my browser, typed 'desks' into google, and ... no ads! I hope that's the end of it. thanks.
posted by Transl3y at 8:51 PM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I just scroll down past the ads. They’re pretty obvious.
posted by bendy at 9:28 PM on October 17, 2017

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