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Ask HN: Why is Google Premium not a thing?
114 points by achenet 12 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 229 comments
We have Youtube premium, where it is possible to pay a monthly fee not to have adds. Why isn't there an analogous version of this for the Google search engine?

"Pay to have no ads" always seems great from a consumer perspective, but terrible from the ad buyer perspective. The people who would buy google premium are the people ad buyers most want to advertise to.

Widget Salesman: "I'd like to buy some ads for my widgets"

Google: "Cool. Some users won't see them."

Widget Salesman: "Which ones?"

Google: "Only the most-engaged ones with the most money."

Widget Salesman: "..."

This is a brilliant comment to this topic. Its so logical that I'm embarrassed I didn't see it.

On a related note, this is why paid magazines still have ads. The Economist has advertisment, and probably sells ad space at a premium because it's readers have more discretionary spending and engagement.

“Showing an ad” is a bad paradigm. Instead, get to know me. Find out my values and needs. Then, sell to me. Make me feel like you understand my problem and then show me several good options. That’s how you get the users with money to spend.

"Get to know me" is a bad paradigm. I don't want them to know shit about me. But since it's safe to assume that is you're serving content, then someone is consuming it, you can base ads on that content. You know, like TV, radio, and magazines have done the whole time.

I'm still going to block those ads though.

I would assume that Google cares more about total profit, from any available source, over some lesser amount of profit from a particular source, such as ad sales.


Which implies that they think that continuing to sell ads will make them more total profit than Google Premium, at any price.

It it works for YouTube, why wouldn't it work for Google? Both use the same ad network anyway, so their advertisers are the same people.

Too expensive. Google makes, on average, smtg like $50/user/year or something (not an accurate number). Now obviously this varies, so some people are much more valuable, and some are less valuable. The value depends on many things, but one of the biggest factor is purchasing power.

Now -- if you're willing and able to pay eg. $10/month for Google Premium, then you likely worth much more than the average user. So the more you're willing to pay the more you worth as an advertisement target. I am not sure where those curves meet, but I presume it'd be a lot.

I know I'd pay just to never see an ad again because I don't care about them at all. If one slips through the cracks I do whatever I can to suppress it as soon as possible while actively denying any form of sensorial engagement with it. I suppose this is true for many people and paying might be more convenient than using adblockers, installing alternative apps, using PiHoles...

Ublock Origin and never see an ad again. I can't believe there are still people who don't do this. You can even do it on your mobile device if you use android and firefox.

I literally feel bad. Is there a name for that disorder? Excess corporate empathy? Idk

I'd feel bad if advertising law wasn't a joke, and ads weren't basically an aggressive waste of time/money as a result.

Like man, I always hear "so many people make their living on this" but uh, maybe if false advertising law is practically unenforced and most ads are practically usually lies pushed by the already established winners in their industry...

Which it certainly seems to be, then. I find it hard to feel too bad, especially when people in the advertising business are probably not going to end up street beggars if things suddenly changed.

edit: although that "makes a living" argument may go wayside a little with the inevitable AI-generated, focus-group tested future we'll be living in. Hmm.

Do you feel bad when you don't read every marketing junk mail you receive?

I consider the ads to be part of an unwritten contract. I get free content, they get to throw ads at me. Junk mail is not a part of that contract.


I'd call it marketing.

How does one remove YouTube app ads on iOS?

Already have pihole on my home network and unlock on all non-iOS browsers.

As a YouTube Premium subscriber who sees no ads, I find sponsor segments to be the real bane of my existence.

Crowd sourced extension to skip over those parts - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/sponsorblock-for-y...

Browser-agnostic main site: https://sponsor.ajay.app

I simply don't use the YouTube app on mobile. I use YouTube via the brave browser which automatically blocks ads. Not the best experience since you can't background videos playing, but it works for me.

Try turning on Background video playback in Settings in General category. At least it works for me.

AdGuard and use the web version of YouTube.

You can't. And I literally switched to Android specifically because of this reason.

Now I use youtube vanced, and as a bonus it includes sponsorblock that saves me a ton of time while I watch videos. It also plays videos while phone is locked, useful during jogs and working out.

You need to jailbreak for that, and there are multiple adblocking tweaks. You can also add the iSponsorBlock tweak in the mix to skip paid video segments.

I think using an adblocker and uninstalling the YouTube app should be sufficient. The downside being that the playback quality is worse (720p max, I think).

Most top videos are 1080/60 some higher.

Does anyone upload 360 or 180 videos on here?

It works pretty well but (a) not on mobile and (b) not on blogspam.

... You can use ublock origin on Firefox on mobile. Its part of the reason to favour an open OS like Android, over iOS.

But if you prefer Chrome, there are actually less (or less useful) options than on iOS.

There are ad blockers on iOS, too. They are implemented in such a way that they can not spy on you—they simply provide a „block list“ that is executed by the browser. Works pretty well in my experience.

That's good. I don't trust Apple though and I have no way to verify Apple isn't spying on me. In fact I'm pretty sure they are.

Ultimately, you have to trust someone. Unless you write your own compilers in machine code, and get the source, review it, etc. you have to trust someone along the chain. Hell, Intel/AMD could be fucking with you via the CPU.

If I have to trust someone, I trust the multi-trillion dollar company built on privacy. If they are found to be spying on people, the hit to the wealth of everyone who works there will be massive.

They're built on advertising. The same advertising that makes you think they're not spying on you.

Apple doesn't sell advertising, nor do I think they spy on me. Or become famous and probably dialed rich by publishing the details of how they do so

Made me laugh. For nine month I gave a chance to full-time android phone, and every two weeks or so it showed me ads based on what I discussed with my coworker in voice (I mean mouth and ears, not voice messaging) but never googled etc. If Apple does that, they at least pretend not to.

I haven't seen an ad in a decade, save for when my wife tries to show me something on her iPhone.

Adguard does the same good job on ios as ublock origin does on a pc. Even on youtube.com. No third-party browsers, no mandatory vpn. Just install it and enable its rules in safari settings.

That's good stuff. Can you personally compile and install it on iOS?

This rhetoric only makes sense if you’re reviewing every update of uBlock your device receives. My concern is: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=31380528

Paying google for google premium wouldn’t help with the blogspam

If Google's only revenue was from users they would have more incentive making features that encourage those users to keep paying them.

Content blockers on iOS work well for removing ads on Google. I'm not sure if there's an Android equivalent.

The catch for iOS is that you have to use Safari, unless the browser has an ad blocker built-in. It won't solve blog spam either.

The Android 'equivalent' is just using the uBlock Origin add-on in Firefox as usual, not some new Apple-invented category of app and hamstrung browsers that are all basically Safari.

not some new Apple-invented category of app

This is bad why exactly?

and hamstrung browsers that are all basically Safari

Content blockers work in original Safari. Which part don’t you like? Content blockers as an app, safari itself, or inability to load third party js into every page you visit?

I wish PC browsers had something like that, because while I trust uBlock Origin (and others, e.g. Bitwarden), there’s always a chance someone hacks into their repo. Modular integration - separate Bitwarden and Adguard apps - is objectively better for these use cases than just pouring some javascripts into every website.

> This is bad why exactly?

I just mean that 'content blockers' are a solution to a problem of Apple's own creation -

> Content blockers work in original Safari.

I know, what I mean there is that all the browsers on iOS are only superficially not Safari; which is the only reason 'content blockers' work in anything 'not' Safari.

Good luck with using that “equivalent” in an embedded web view.

Besides, if I care about my privacy, why would I want to use an ad blocker that has access to my web browsing history?

iOS content blockers tell Safari what to block and don’t have access to where you go.

Android uses the default browser for webview. If you have Firefox + uBlock Origin as your default browser you get ad blocking in your webview.

By “embedded web view”, I don’t mean when you click on a link it switches to another app. I mean something like an RSS reader where you view a web page inside the hosted app.


> Mozilla uses GeckoView to power Firefox for Android, Firefox Reality, Firefox Focus, and other Android apps. GeckoView serves a similar purpose to Android's built-in WebView, but it has its own APIs and is not a drop in replacement.

You can replace the default web view, although I believe it requires root access. I've been using https://www.bromite.org/system_web_view for a while and it works pretty well.

But you can’t replace it with Firefox’s GeckoView since they don’t support the equivalent APIs according to their own documentation.

So the only way you can actually use your ad blocked system wide is through a series of hacks


That’s definitely a lot easier than just…going to the App Store.

Of course when your phone is using an OS that is created by an ad tech company, they aren’t going to make it easy to block ads system wide.

And android is actually getting worse, too, not better. And Firefox is slowly knee capping the freedom (presumably because they're all Apple users haha)

Its why it's important for folks like yourself who are pro-Apple to push for Apple to open up. That way we can have the best of both worlds (if you believe the marketing, like it would appear you do). I'll use the most open device at the end of the day.

You can now run arbitrary web extensions in Safari. 1Blocker has the standard Content Blocking framework that’s been supported 7 years where it just gives Safari a list of rules and it supports embedded Safari extensions where it does have access to your browsing history.

You don’t just get a pop up that allows you to enable it. You have to go into settings and get a scary warning.

> Good luck with using that “equivalent” in an embedded web view.

It works, so thanks. Maybe you're referring to the impossibility to access the plugin's settings from the embedded web view. But if it's a site you've visited before and configured to your preference, then it takes effect in the same way there as in full FF.

> iOS content blockers tell Safari what to block and don’t have access to where you go.

If I tell it 'block scripts from example.org on news.ycombinator.com' then it's a pretty good bet that I visit news.ycombinator.com.

Right, I realise iOS content blockers aren't that powerful, so it's hypothetical. ;)

So how does “it work” when Mozilla themselves says that GeckoView can’t be used as a drop in embedded WebView?

I don't know, I'm just reporting my experience as a user. I don't develop for Android or know anything about what Mozilla says about it.

Feel free to reproduce it yourself: block third party by default (for example), open some broken page, observe it as such; 'open in browser' from 3-dot menu; amend settings to allow whatever it needs; back out, observe it functional.

Open in the browser is not the same thing as an embedded web view. Take something like an RSS reader. You click on the link and it shows you the web page inside the app without taking you outside of the app.

It's open source. You can verify whether or not they're doing anything nefarious with your browsing history. You can then package it yourself and run it!

Or, instead of digging through every line of source code and packaging it myself, I can use an operating system where the vendor designed a content blocking framework that is privacy focused by default and that works with third party apps that use web views.

Yeah, because you're just taking Apple's word that they aren't being nefarious. You can quite literally see for yourself whether or not ublock origin is. It's like arguing that being able to film the police shouldnt be allowed because they promise to be good.

You can also see for yourself how ad blockers register what can be blocked to Safari by looking at the open source WebKit code…

Sorta! You can't install it so you can't prove it's the same thing! That's the problem with a locked OS.

So you suggest that everyone look through every line of source code to ensure that it is legitimate?

Did you also verify that Firefox installed from the App Store was the same as the open source version?

Are you using only open sourced code on your phone or are you using Google provided binaries? Are your drivers open source for your chipset?

If not, you are also using “locked down code”

Towards open source freedom is my goal, not towards Tim Cook's bonus. nvidia just moved more towards open sourcing their drivers. You think that's out of kindness? No, it's because AMD and Intel have open drivers and nvidia is scared to lose market share to them.

Vote with your wallet and we can have a better future. I don't care if it's iOS, Android, or Linux! Just that it's actually open.

Nvidia no more moved toward open source than Google with the play store. It still depends on binary closed source blobs.

I assure you that Nvidia is not going to lose market share to Intel in the GPU race. Even Apple is creating chipsets Thad trounce Intel in graphics performance.

That's a great starting point / default but can't block complicated things as effectively and shouldn't be the only option on a platform.

Care to post some real world example websites?

The data processing consent popups on Google properties aren't blockable by this because they are JS-based and integrate with the rest of the page's JS code, so the only way to "defuse" them is to run active JS code provided by the blocker. The declarative framework can't do this by design.

1Blocker iOS

> Block Annoyances: blocks cookie notices

And if you really want to, you can run 1Blocker scripts within Safari that can do the same type of thing. You have to go into Settings and you get a huge privacy warning.

And this also works with embedded web views - unlike with Android

At some point, you have to trust someone. I trust uBlock Origin to not be malicious and so do plenty of people. Ideally you'd want to pin versions and always stay a few versions behind so that an overnight "rug pull" where the extension becomes compromised doesn't affect you.

The problem with iOS' declarative blocking framework is that it's not powerful enough to deal with more advanced ads.

Like what?

I didn't mean an equivalent to iOS's content blockers specifically, but an ad block solution in general. I don't use Android, so I'm not familiar with what's available.

Yeah, but it’s still Android… Yuck.

I actually even go further and degoogle my android phones so it's just this quiet, open source minimalist utopia. It's magnificent.

Give me a third option. Both Android and iPhone are inferior products compared to even Windows 10 in terms of what control I have on my device

What a crazy thing to say. Do the konami dance on Android to set your device to developer mode, and it literally gives you a root shell on a Linux system with a completely open source OS that you can tweak, complile, and reflash yourself. That whole process is simple enough that any given 10 year old can figure it out in a weekend and have complete control over their device if they want it, no fancy exploits or anything required.

The fact that Windows 10 has zero protections WRT physical or app security is not something to be proud of.

You can't root or reflash all android phones. You can use the adb shell without root but it... isn't root.

You can't root or re-flash all Windows devices either.

It's an open platform, so of course there are a ton of bad actors in the space who are going to add their own garbage and try to prevent people from removing it, but if you buy a phone from a reputable source, it's going to let you put it into dev mode. Obviously don't buy the malware encrusted garbage sold directly from shady telecom companies etc.

You have to use Safari on iOS anyway, because the only permitted web view implementation is Safari’s. Firefox/Opera/Chrome on iOS is just Safari in a trench coat.

There is Bromite, a Chromium fork -Google +Adblock.

Also you can change your DNS server permanently to an adblocking one like ControlD or NextDNS, iOS hilariously enough only allows this on a per-network basis.

You also have to use Safari on MacOS if you're interested in getting the longest battery life.

Kiwi browser allows for full add-ons including ublock

(a) mobile -> VPN -> server with PiHole

UBlock Origin, as awesome as it is, does not remove ads from Google search results.

I'm pretty sure it does. I don't see any adds in Google search with uBlock Origin installed.

It certainly does. Even text ads.

Using adblock is indeed very convenient. Enable browser extension and forget about all web annoyances. Calm and peece.

Google Ad Premium disables google ads only (or most of them?), while other ad nets (avg more than 80 cookies on every major news site!) will continue to annoy.

I use Brave Browser. I am always shocked to see how bad the internet is for users without ad blocker. I also totally forgot that YouTube has annoying ads.

Can you imagine what would happen when "advertisers" discover they can make money by annoying people? Micro digital muggings will become a thing.

Be careful: NetOps/NetEng/NetSRE knows to look here too. 23!eris::::::::, NANOG is not the only cabal.

> Now obviously this varies, so some people are much more valuable, and some are less valuable.

I think people also underrate how much this varies. Our company has paid $50-$100 per click in the past for certain search terms.

Letting a CTO at a tech company opt out of ads for like $50 is a sucker deal for Google.

Google had a service, now discontinued, that allowed a user to enter into those bids, setting a monthly limit on ad spend. It was for external sites using AdSense, not Google Search, but I thought it was an amazing idea.

> if the user wins the auction, [a thank you message] is placed in the ad space, and the cost of the ad is deducted from the user's monthly contribution. If the user does not win, the winning ad is displayed as normal and the user pays nothing for that slot


Maybe using a search engine that's trying to sell your attention to the highest bidder is a sucker deal for a CTO.

How many CTOs out there don't run ad-blockers though? I'd argue that anyone who doesn't run those shouldn't be let anywhere near a CTO position.

What was the ratio of clicks to impressions for those super expensive terms?

> So the more you're willing to pay the more you worth as an advertisement target.

So the common wisdom goes. Alternative thought: the more you’re willing to pay to not see ads the likelier you are to block them or never click on them, making you worth less as a target.

I would rather keep blocking ads and pay content publishers than pay money to the ad middleman.

The problem with paying to not see ads is that now you have made yourself known as a juicier target for advertising -- they know you have enough money to buy frivolous things like a 'no ads' experience. Which makes them want to advertise to you even more.

Examples: cable TV, Hulu, soon Netflix?

Search makes ~$40B per year. They likely have over >3B MAU.

People that would realistically pay for the product - maybe 50M. I think a ~$10/m subscription could make sense.

The problem is - they probably need to offer something beside just being ad free. And I'm not sure what they could possibly add that wouldn't be better suited just improving the product for the other 99% of searchers.

I'd pay more than $10/m for Search if I had to. I pay for YouTube premium to get rid of the ads (and free YouTube Music). But I don't think the search ads are intrusive enough that I'm willing to pay $10 to get rid of them.

Advertising CPMs vary wildly between geographies and demographics. GP’s point is still valid: even if average global revenue is $10/mo/user, the average revenue of the group that would pay $10/mo is likely much higher.

Yeah, I can easily imagine a 90th percentile user in North America is worth closer to $100 per month. Which answers the OP’s question.

And its likely a Pareto curve too.

So a 99th percentile user could be worth $1000 per month, 99.9th percentile worth $10000 per month, etc.

I imagine they would only take the risk to offer such a premium service when they can figure out how to get everyone to upload their payslips and bank account statements.

It is possible people who would pay to remove ads are also people who are less susceptible to them in the first place. No idea if that’s true though.

Advanced and permanent search filters would be nice to have. No longer seeing results from geeksbygeeks, medium or stackoverflow clones when searching for documentation would be great

> Search makes ~$40B per year.

Per quarter, no?

Just think about all the times you accidentally click the first result and how much it cost those companies. They probably paid a sum total that's way more than what you're willing to pay in a year.

YouTube Premium is $14.99/month for no YouTube ads for up to 5 people (among other features) so I'm not sure it is really so hard for the curves to meet.

If I'm willing to pay to not see ads in search results it's more likely that I'm not really engaging much with ads.

Google has a custom search API that comes in two flavors — ad-supported or $5/thousand queries (beyond 100 free queries a day). You can either use their Search Element API (HTML, comes with standard Google Search UI, customizable) or build your own UI with the JSON API.

Obviously you’re talking about a consumer offering, but I just want to point out that paid, ad-free Google Search does exist and is pretty easy to set up.


I wish someone would plug this into Searx, then we could reuse its UI.

[Searx upstream doesn't seems to be keen on implementing it though](https://github.com/searx/searx/issues/2622)

I didn't know it existed, thanks. This should be the top comment for the tech-savvy HN crowd.

An interesting portion of this is the Restricted API, which limits the number of sites to 10, but allows an unlimited number of requests at the $5/k rate. There doesn't seem to be any restriction on business use, which seems like a good option for paid, ad-free and anonymized code search, since 95% of the desired results are from three sources: GH, SO and Reddit.

I'd rather have the ability to buy a Google Bond for $X that Google must return to me in the event they lock or terminate my account. That way, if their algorithmic classifiers on a whim decide that I'm a bad person and they should lock my account, Google would have a financial incentive to invest up to $X verify that I wasn't the victim of a false positive before pulling the rug out from under me.

For a company with $60,000,000,000 in annual revenue, what should the price of the bond be?

What amount would make them think investigating your lock is worth the effort?

Maybe $1000 is reasonable amount both for me and GOOG. BTW they might just not to give you anything anyway, for example if some algo considers you a terrorist who is strictly forbidden to be funded.

$1,000 is their daily budget for M&Ms. You need to go a few orders of magnitude larger.

Across the entire user base is a few orders of magnitude larger.

But they'd never block the entire user base, right? So it's only about a few one offs. M&M money, no?

0.5% of the entire userbase (which might be a fair estimate of their false-positive ratio) is a sizeable number.

It's not so much that they would be desperate to keep the $x; but rather "has had $x posted for Y years" is a strong signal the account warrants careful human review for any flagged issue.

Surely any actual nefarious user would see that $x as a small cost of doing business...

Why do you think that? What kind of nefarious use makes a hundred bucks or more per account and is subtle enough for the ban review to let them keep doing it?

There is no cost to a bad actor in the OP's proposal. If/when the account gets terminated, the money is returned to them. This policy would be worse than useless. No real users would sign up for it, only abusers.

For bad actors, an extra careful review is still going to result in account termination. So, for them, the bonds buy virtually no protection, but it does tie up real money. How many bad actors are going to prefer to loan Google $100 per active account rather than $0 per active account?

Well the bond will be meaningless if it was only put there yesterday. If it's been there for a while that's a real cost. But true, it's not the full amount unless they do something that makes them owe Google money.

Buy some adsense revenue and never cash it out. You would have to be an extra bad person before they consider banning you. If they do it's still dubious to terminate a business relationship while you owe the other person money.

They would kinda not want to go in front of a judge even if he states they are allowed to seize peoples funds without any explanation.

Google will happily terminate an AdSense account and confiscate the earnings. Has happened for years, including to prominent sites like BoingBoing and Fark (https://www.inc.com/erik-sherman/you-wont-believe-the-reason...).

But they will state a reason for doing so. The "incentive to verify" was there. Ofc it doesn't change that it is an evil corp that (if at all possible) you shouldn't get involved with.

LOL, no they won't.


> Because we have a need to protect our proprietary detection system, we're unable to provide publishers with any information about their account activity, including any pages, users, or third-party services that might have been involved.

The trial by robot really cracks me up. How is this even legal?

I'm still convinced there is some small / non zero difference between banning free users and banning users that produce revenue but it might just be as insignificant as you make it out to be.

My ad experience has changed dramatically after I leaned into multiple browser personas. In personal persona, I hate ads with passion and do everything to get rid of them (browser extensions, premium membership, etc). I value my personal time and the ads are totally useless.

In work persona, I suddenly have found ads are actually useful. Often find myself choosing to spend 30 seconds watching a YouTube ad because it is relevant to topics I need to be aware of as a CTO. It's clear my daily browsing history influences the ads I am seeing, and I see useful information. Been looking into SIEM tools lately, and via an ad I was just made aware of some data center appliances for security. I clicked to their website and browsed a while to learn what was available. When you have some real challenges to solve and the targeting is on point, ads can be a great news feed.

Clearly segmenting my browser history into one persona where I am actively looking for solutions vs my personal persona where I want to be left alone helped the feeds target me.

Still, surreal feeling to intentionally choose to watch an ad...

Yes, ads should be locked up inside services that users specifically choose to use if and when they want.

Those services should not have overlapping features, like providing mail, social media, or general search, for example, as that would be a clear conflict of interest.

> Been looking into SIEM tools lately, and via an ad I was just made aware of some data center appliances for security.

Would you not have come cross them if you were actively searching for data center appliances for security? Were Ads the only way to find them?

You would be far better served by taking advice of someone you've hired than taking the advice from YouTube ads about snake-oil...

Google has tried this multiple times with Contributor. They tested a few different models but it never seemed to gain any traction.


Yup. I know some people at Google who just smack their foreheads every time the HN "of course we'd all pay to eliminate ads" narrative shows up. There have been a bunch of attempts at this over time. They've just never got traction and slowly died.

Speculation but: there will be a huge amount of institutional inertia around this. It sure suits a large number of Google employees that "paying for a service" will fail.

Newspapers, tv, and music, are counter-examples to the assertion that people won't pay for things - even when they've previously been free.

Google's main product focus now should be Cloud, the ad debate is long-term done.

> It sure suits a large number of Google employees that "paying for a service" will fail.

Let me get this straight. The idea is that Google has deliberately constructed several different systems over the years to enable micropayments or subscriptions to replace ads with the plan of them failing so they can use this as evidence that the ad model is unstoppable and that people shouldn't try to replace it? And this was done despite knowing that an alternative would make Google more money? And not a single person who was involved in this deliberate sabotage has ever spoken about it?

Come on.

> Newspapers, tv, and music, are counter-examples to the assertion that people won't pay for things - even when they've previously been free.

Newspapers are a dying industry and are filled with ads. TV is filled with ads. Even paid streaming services like Hulu (and soon maybe Netflix) are ad supported. Spotify has an ad-driven free service.

> Google's main product focus now should be Cloud, the ad debate is long-term done.

Ad revenue continues to grow every quarter. Yes, Google obviously wants another similarly sized revenue stream and there are very few domains that can generate that kind of revenue. But "the ad debate is long-term done" is just not based in facts.

I don't think there needs to be a conspiracy. From what I've read about Google (I have never and will never work there), ICs are incentivized to build and ship new stuff, even if it isn't successful, so Google ends up building a bunch of stuff that isn't successful.

It's not at all hard for me to believe that a company that has built, shipped, and killed multiple chat apps has also built and killed multiple subscription and micropayments systems. Then, the employees who are pushing adtech can use those failures as evidence that adtech is the only way.

> From what I've read about Google (I have never and will never work there), ICs are incentivized to build and ship new stuff, even if it isn't successful, so Google ends up building a bunch of stuff that isn't successful.

I work at Google. What you say here is not true.

Yes, Google is indeed often very bad at long term product strategy and has rebooted its chat offerings an embarrassing number of times. But "it shipped, fuck it if it works" is not actually a sufficient justification for promotions.

Interesting, this is not what I've heard, but my sources are obviously secondhand. I'll update my priors in that direction, although it makes whatever Google is doing make even less sense to me.

I think a big problem is that "Google bad" is a very engaging blog post and that, by virtue of being enormous, there are plenty of people who leave the company with bad feelings who are willing to write about it. This leads to a lot of highly visible writing about flaws within Google but largely from the perspective of people who were unhappy.

There are people who struggle to get promoted and leave. A very coarse piece of failed promo feedback is "not enough impact" and people sometimes interpret this as "you must launch new stuff." For actual data, the Core Developer organization has historically had one of the higher promo rates in the company despite being primarily focused on internal tooling, maintenance, and iterative improvements like refactoring and optimization.

I have my own hunches for why Google seems to have such terrible product strategy as a company. There are a few cases where I've seen the actual root cause and, while still being stupid at the end of the day, had nothing to do with promotion or career advancement.

But it isn't the adtech people, it's the contributor people, who are willing to say it's an unviable consumer model.

The same incentive system explains that too, though. The incentive is to ship. Once you've shipped the system, improving it isn't rewarded, so if it isn't immediately viable, who cares, you got your promotion and you can say, "Well we tried".

That uhhh... Won't get you promo.

Hulu has an ad free plan and Netflix is offering an cheaper ad tier.

Contributor v1 didn't eliminate google ads, just reduced them. v2 only worked on a random handful of sites and charged per view.

Give me something approaching YouTube premium and I'll go for it. Does Scroll support enough sites ye-- oh no Twitter bought them and gutted it.

I mean, it works for YouTube Premium, but maybe it only works there because of how absolutely annoying ads are on YT.

Isn't it telling that few/none of us have heard of this? Maybe these efforts didn't get traction because Google made no effort to let the world know they existed.

I used this when it was announced but it's been a while since I even thought about it. I decided to dig up some old emails and see how it went for me.

Invited and signed up on 2015-04-28, service ended 2017-01-17. I had a $2 monthly reoccurring charge to fund the account, but I just accrued a balance, so I cancelled the charge in 2015-11-15 and that balance lasted until the service ended. In the final email they sent they included some stats:

> Thanks for being a Contributor! Your contribution of $14.01 helped to fund 351 sites! A refund for your remaining balance of -$0.02 is being processed and your account is now closed.

I don't remember it being particularly noticeable, and I think on some sites it would just replace the ads with a banner saying something like "Thanks for being a contributor". I also recall there being tiers / budgets you could set.

I'd be slap bang in the cross hairs of this product. I mooch around online reading stuff like HN in my spare time, and yet have never ever heard of it. From an advertising company.

Is this the upside or the downside of ad blockers? So hard to decide...

Because if google offered it, people that are worried about tracking like myself wouldn't buy it.

Indeed, it would require a google account, and one that is always connected. Basically giving full view of my private life to google and trust that no matter how bad their track record is, from now on they are going to respect it.

I don't trust them to give them that data, and even if I did, I don't trust a gov won't abuse it eventually or something else down the line.

Hence I'd rather not have a google account, and use ad blockers so that the data is just not communicated to them. It should be a constitutional right to do so.

Ideally you would be able to have an extension that says “hey, I’m on example.com/page and I’m not going to load ads. That all you get to know to pay out a portion of my subscription to the website operator”. The issue with this is that Google typically doesn’t have an exclusivity agreement with websites, and header bidding is quite prevalent, so it doesn’t make sense for Google to allow people to pay to remove Google ads if they’re just going to get out-header-bid anyways when someone comes along with Google Premium+no ad blocker and suddenly the website is showing ads from another ad network instead, leading the user to think Google Premium doesn’t work.

And I don’t think most people would buy a Premium offering if all it did was remove results in Google Search; the only people that helps is Google and most people can easily scroll past those even without Adblock.

Brave tried to build this into the browser.

> people that are worried about tracking like myself wouldn't buy it.

That's an incredibly tiny fraction of Google Search users.

But a larger fraction of the users that seek a method of stopping ads.

Of course they would never do this. But it is possible with cryptography to have a system where you can prove that you paid for such service without proving who you are.

Do you use Android?

I do, but don't login to a google account, don't have the play store, use micro-g, etc.

I do the same thing as you, however, was not aware of microG. Does it require rooting? (I could not find on the website.)

Because paying customers expect some modicum of support, and Google HATES providing support.

Google loves to provide support, but for its customers only. Customer is a one who pays them millions of dollars for ads.

No they don't, you are going to find plenty of horror stories from people who make Google money. Content/app creators, people paying for ads, G-suite customers, Pixel phone buyers, etc...

Maybe it is different for companies literally paying millions of dollars, but don't expect more than bot treatment below that.

I’m a paying customer. They do not like to provide support.

That’s not support, it’s account management :)

They hate unprofitable service. If they can give email away why should you get service without paying?

The people who would pay for premium are also the among the most desireable targets for ads because they have disposable income.

Well there is Kagi[0], a 'Premium search engine where everything on the page matters'

Haven't tried it, but it looks promising.

[0] https://kagi.com/

I've been using it for over a month now and it's great. Search results are on par with Google,if not better. (Probably better, subjectively, since I switched mostly due to getting annoyed daily with worsening results. Ignoring my search terms was especially annoying.) The privacy aspect felt like a bonus, but now I never want to go back.

It requires a login to use and aside from not showing ads, the FAQ makes no promises about not monetizing the per user search history. That's bit of a red flag for me.

This portion of the FAQ: https://kagi.com/faq#privacy

Would seem to address those concerns — if the only money coming in is users paying directly, that would seem to preclude selling the data for further monetization. Or are those known weasel words?

So many Google engineers have asked this question and run into the same answer: the org chart prevents real action towards unifying services across Alphabet’s holdings. Sometimes that’s a bad thing, but in many cases I would expect regulatory compliance in local areas to trump other kinds of safety concerns.

Note: I am a Xoogler and was far more concerned about the state of the organization in early 2016 than in any year since I was “hired” as an L3 Engineer in Network Software Engineering and Testing in Google’s Cloud division. While I do not expect that to mean anything, it does mean that politics and workplace safety matter more to me than most people. Google paid me less in total compensation over that time than anywhere else I have worked internationally. Alphabet Women decided to walk out separate from issues with Maven, Dragonfly, TCP, BBR, BBRv2, Stadia, and other “magic” features that clearly risked lives long before Waymo admitted that even DeepMind can’t “solve” self-diving cars any better than ReCaptcha’s success rate.

I'd pay for this, if it also applied to other google products. In particular, google maps has become unpleasant to use lately, with a lot of extra stuff drawn on top of the actual map. I've switched to apple maps, for this reason. I wonder how many others have done the same.

Because ads on Google Search are among the least intrusive/offensive, and most frequently relevant, ads in the entire advertising space, and most people using it aren't bothered by it. It won't make relevant revenue; it will in some degree harm their real customers; it's a distraction serving no purpose.

Because there would be much less demand. Scrolling past goog ads takes 1 mouse scroll. Skipping YT ads can take 30 seconds

Some Goog ads are also very useful since it’s intent based.

dude. how can you stand an ad in 2022? i have been using ublock origin everywhere since it was released, abp before that. i have a pi-hole at home. on my android i often use apps like blokada.

the other day i had visited a friend at home and their tv was at full blast. the ads felt really jarring/irritating/obnoxious to a point i requested them to just turn the tv off.

then another day i saw a coworker on his laptop, edge opened on homepage with big 2000's style banner ads, sidebar ads, full page ads and they were just keeping the page open because "eh, dont care".

try to use ublock origin on your browser for a week and then the next week without it.

I was referring to just ads on Google, not any other type. Dude.

I have ublock origin. I actually disable it at times because it's killing some of the ads that I do like. Google is an excellent example, where the ads are often literally the thing I'm looking for.

I think you are right. If Google thought even a small minority of people would subscribe to it, too small to make a dent in revenue, Google should do it if it is enough to show advertisers that "inventory" is limited and to use it as a bargaining chip.

I am sure companies like WPP are pressuring Google even today to open up more and share all kinds of data with them. It is not in Google's best interest to do so but how do you fend off attacks like the adpocalypse if you can't show advertisers that you don't need them as much as they need you?

Edit: spelling

Undermines the psychological warfare google is waging to make a normal part of life IMHO, it would be tacit acknowledgment that search ads and widespread data collection are a messed up business model. Youtube ads are different to them bc they interrupt directly and are much more of a clear "nuisance" in an entertainment product

Heh, I’d Pay to get better search results like google was a couple of years ago. Maybe a like/dislike button for search results and some machine learning on top of that would do it.

Rank sites by "fewest ads". :)

This is hackernews, is installing uBlock Origin not the first thing everyone does when they set up a browser?

Are you aware of Neeva? https://neeva.com/

I’ve tried it on a couple of demo searches, and the results seem good.

I tried to sign up for it and they wanted to do a Zoom call before they'd give me an account. Absurd.

We are self serve now, give us a try. Zoom calls were done during our alpha release.

Because it's class-ism. Any service that becomes essential to online functionality should be regulated to prevent that kind of opportunistic profiteering in my opinion.

Most of these companies already profit off of the ad revenue, then they turn around and want to tax people to opt out of increasingly obstructive and unbearable ads?

Asking if you can pay an already very profitable company to end their manipulation of you is rewarding bad behavior. Too many companies are hobbling their standard services as a cover for extra pocket change annually.

Ask yourself why standard gmail has been only trending towards reduced functionality and more ads every year without innovating useful new features? Because now they know it is profitable to hobble an essential and usually stable service, they are working to slowly convert it from a (previously promised) free service into a monthly fee-based service now that literally billions of people can't live without identity management integrated into it.

This trend in software-based services is upsetting in many ways people don't realize until it's too late... Netflix pushing ads on paying customers (as another example).

People love to say they’d pay for something until they have the opportunity to pay for it. Then the interest in paying suddenly dries up.

YouTube ads are way more disruptive because they have to interrupt the video you are playing for at least a few seconds.

I think removing ads from Google Search is pointless for most users.

However, giving extra search features for paying costumers might work.

E.g. letting you write complex queries or using operator like AROUND or page types (e.g. querying "3d printing pagetype:academic" or "3d printing pagetype:tutorial") or all the other query features that they deprecated over the years (see https://ahrefs.com/blog/google-advanced-search-operators/) or reverse citations (e.g. querying "cites:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crazy_Thing" and getting all pages that link to Crazy Thing on Wikipedia)

Brave IS Google Premium. Sadly they tied it to crypto and made a mess of the payment / payout mechanism, but the product is live and works. Likely Google has noted Brave's uptake and is in no hurry to compete. I'd pay for Chrome Premium as I do for YT premium.

Kagi.com is my nee search engine of choice for this among other reasons

I'd pay for google premium, but since that's not offered I use ad blockers. Just like I used to torrent before streaming services came up.

You might want to try Neeva - it’s exactly this idea and I believe started by a few x googlers… trying it out seems pretty good so far…

Because 90% of people don't even know it exists despite Google flashing it in their face every now and then inside the YouTube's app. And the second thing is like other people said the price; $10 a month is just too much for the moderate income people taking in consideration they have other subscription/s plus costs of living are rising without signs of stopping.

It's about target platform and time spent.

Youtube Premium is a perfect proposition for an easy ad free streaming to TV and to mobile. On Desktop browser adblock extension is efficient enough to cut out the ads.

Google search on the other hand is primarily for desktop and is not a streaming platform that consumes your attention minutes, hence Google Premium has little market with effective adblockers.

The product needs to be Chrome Premium, which blocks all ads, on all platforms for a fee, where a share goes back to the sites you visit most.

Google has zero support even for paying users, so if you got locked out of your account, you're f*cked without recourse.

No one would pay for it. Why pay for somthing that uBlock Origin can give you for free?

I'm paying for YouTube. I already blocked ads on my desktop computer, but I wanted to use the official (I know third-party apps exist including YouTube vanced) youtube app on Android.

Similarly, I can block ads in web search results in desktop and mobile. But I can't block ads in the Android apps for Google maps and Gmail.

What would I pay to get rid of them. Not much, admittedly. But I would pay more if it was part of an overall package that'd make it easier to pretend Google is not a semi-hostile entity.

I don't understand why anyone pays for YouTube either. It doesn't make any sense.

One could be offered the opportunity to bid for ad slots on your own search results -- that way you would know that someone was paying oodles for your eyes....

I doubt there would be much of a market, especially when ad-blockers exist.

Because you will end up with no-result for mostly any search input, except of few situations when you are searching something like "hackernews" on input and getting "news.ycombinator.com" on output.

What? Are you really suggesting that most searches only return sponsored results?

Either sponsored or gamed from my experience. I would rather ask HN then Google search.

I guess Google don't want this. In the last years Google has been hiding ads making them looking like the normal results [1]. From an advertiser perspective, you want to have your ad as the best result for a search, "lying" to users to use your website or product because is the best for what you're looking for.

I think this is different with Youtube. I see those ads like TV ones. Everyone know it's an ad, so the advertiser has to use their ability to catch the costumer.

[1] - https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2020/1/23/21078343/google-ad-d...

This won't solve your issues imo. Go to almost any ad laden site. There is generally at most one ad by Google per page and 50 ads by other providers

On YouTube, the ads block the entire experience until they're done. Search ads are relatively unintrusive, even if some users take offence.

This would only make it even more obvious that all Google search results for anything that can be sold are advertisements at this point.

Because Google can sell you for a lot more money than you’d be willing to pay

Just install Adblock: ublock origin

And if you can't on your iPhone, get a better phone

You realize content blockers have been on iOS for 8 years - including supporting embedded web views.

The iOS content blocking framework is nowhere near as powerful as what uBlock Origin can do.

A real world example?

Just my opinion/suspicion:

Google doesn’t want to give up its current model of operation. Google as a corporation likes being able to surveil the Earth. Google likes being able to control information. Google likes being (essentially) part of the US state department.

Would be too expensive

I spend way more time in YouTube than in search. If anything it should be the other way around.

There is the argument that many shopping decisions start with the search, but not sure if there is an order of magnitude difference.

for who?

Is the value that Google gets from one user having ads really that high?

Youtube Premium is only ~$10/month, does Google really make that much more with ads?

> Youtube Premium is only ~$10/month, does Google really make that much more with ads?

Yes! Already their average per-user revenue was 21 USD per user per month in 2018 (couldn't find newer data) [0]. Furthermore, the first people to sign up would be the richest folks, those who are the most interesting to advertisers. Meaning: they are worth way more than 21 USD per month to Google.

To compensate, the price would have to be even higher. If only 5% of Google's userbase signed up, and those 5% are, on average, worth to Google 5 times as people from the general population, then you'd have to pay 100 USD per month for getting rid of ads across all Google products. That number would also have to grow at least as quickly as the ad revenue for it to make sense for Google to do it.

[0]: https://mondaynote.com/the-arpus-of-the-big-four-dwarf-every...

No but the value they extraxt from millions of advertisers is much higher.

that seems like a logical contradiction.

Money made with ads = how much advertisers pay

Money made with ads per user = how much advertisers pay / number of users.

If they average to... $10/user, then it's viable.

There's still long-term brand value in just being the biggest ad delivery machine that can bring eyeballs to your ads from any potential customer group.

Once you remove a portion of those eyeballs, you might make more money short-term, but long-term you might end up in difficult conversations with large advertisers.

Because your data is more valuable than your money.

Adblock works wonders. I never see Google ads.

How to Acquired instagram hacked

Maybe they're hoping to find better ways to leverage your private information in the future.

You can buy queries tho.

How to Accordion instagram hacked

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