Google’s tough stance on dedicated Android ad blockers might be softening a bit. The company has reversed its decision to yank Adblock Fast from the Play Store following an appeal from the app’s developer, Rocketship. Google hasn’t officially said what prompted the change of heart (we’ll let you know if it has a comment), but TechCrunch understands that Google had originally wanted to limit ad blocking to browsers where it’s an option — any stand-alone apps were against the rules for interfering with other software. Our understanding is that Google is now concerned solely with banning those apps that interfere without permission. Given that Rocketship was working with Samsung, that shouldn’t be a problem.
One thing’s for sure: the decision ends the murkiness over Google’s approach to ad blockers. Besides letting through web browsers with ad blocking built-in, Google was also lighter on competing dedicated apps like Crystal, which had an update rejected but otherwise stayed put on the Play Store. This isn’t carte blanche for every ad blocker, but you won’t have a shortage of choices.