Breaking out of the browser
The AdBlock app for Chrome and Safari is pretty fantastic for blocking ads on web pages, and millions of people use it daily while they surf. Users report that they forget what surfing was even like before AdBlock, and some even report a sense of bliss at seeing the before-and-after effect on web pages.
But the number one requested feature has been a way to block the ads that assault us all in the “real world” — such as billboards, TV commercials, and magazine ads. Unfortunately, AdBlock hasn’t been available outside the browser window.
Until today. Introducing the beta version of AdBlock Freedom: augmented reality eyewear that detects and removes ads from the world in realtime.
Here’s how it works: when powered off, AdBlock Freedom functions as sunglasses. Slide a discreet switch on the frame, and AdBlock Freedom begins scanning your view for objects that it recognizes as ads. Any detected ad gets a “smudge” overlay to blend it into its surroundings. A picture is worth a thousand words:
AdBlock Freedom detects ads in the wearer’s view and attempts to blend them in with their surroundings.
In the test above, four billboards in the wearer’s view were blocked with varying degrees of success. This example displays some of AdBlock Freedom’s current weaknesses: it can blend ads poorly, it can be confused by partially-obscured ads (note that it blended away the girders in front of the small billboards), and there can be false positives such as with the blue container. It also is less effective at detecting non-rectangular ads.
Despite its current shortcomings, AdBlock Freedom works, and it feels like magic the first time you try it on. Updates for the device will ship at the same fast pace that AdBlock for Chrome and Safari is updated, but beta testers are needed to help squash the remaining bugs. If you’re interested and willing to file bug reports, then apply to get a free pair and get started blocking ads in the real world!
Willing to be a beta tester?If you’d be willing to report any bugs you find, apply to beta test a free pair of AdBlock Freedom glasses, yours to keep.
Space in the beta program is limited. Beta testers will be accepted in the order they sign up.