Opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of MRD.
Most probably regard Google as a tech company. Well, Google certainly uses much, even creates, and are forging ahead with their cloud offerings. But almost all of their revenue is from ads. If it looks and walks like a duck, it's a duck. So Google's an ad company. At least for the time being.
Hopefully, you read my most recent blog article Ad Madness, wherein I commented on looming regulations or lack thereof between the FTC, FCC, and ISPs heating up. In that ISPs will soon be able to track your data in the name of serving you... an adtastic experience when using the Internet! :-\ I also mentioned ISPs positional advantage against the likes of Google, Facebook (BTW, Facebook is also an ad company.), etc. for serving ads and how it was suddenly and very suspiciously reminding of Google pushing for all sites to use HTTPS. Even for content-only sites not requiring security. Perhaps Google was competitively preparing for this scenario of ISPs getting into ad business. In such a Google-enforced HTTPS world, even if not a bad thing otherwise, ISPs would have a harder time in the ad business competing against hyperscale sites providing "free" services to fuel ad business. It was corroborating and an honour to be in the same company as Leo Laporte when hearing him having the same suspicion on Google's HTTPS push in this new light.
Well guess what! The Wall Street Journal reported Google will add native ad-blocking to it's Chrome browser, which has huge market share. This seems to also come under the guise of protecting users against abusively disruptive ads, rather than a competitive move against ISPs in the ad space. Whatever. Competition, however it happens and whatever Google wants to call it, theoretically benefits consumers anyway.
So it seems the ad wars are taking on a new twist. It's not us-and-them cat and mouse anymore, but a them-and-those-other-guys. We'll just sit back and watch them clobber each other for our data and attention. What was Google to do? I hadn't thought of it before, but they actually do have a positional advantage against ISPs. In the Chrome browser! Not sure what ISPs can do about that. Physically cover users eyes with their hands blocking what what's visible? Maybe that's possible with deep packet inspection, decryption, replacement, and re-encryption. Which Google could still possibly block in Chrome, but wouldn't be able to serve their own ads. But then Google could preload ads in Chrome. Hmmm... the mind can only but boggle on this.
What's Facebook doing about the new ad wars with ISPs. Seems nothing so far, but let's wait for their move and see how they spin it.