Here’s something we missed in last week’s story on the war between Apple, Google and Facebook: iOS 9 apps can also block user tracking, not just ads.
In its first week of release, Crystal is the top selling paid app in the iTunes store (at this writing, Purify is number eight). For just 99c, it claims a four-fold improvement in page loading times (based on a test of 10 popular news sites), and already has 1,400 user ratings. Version 1.1 does not allow sites to be white-listed, so ads are blocked on all publisher sites, and the identity of any tracking scripts that have been blocked is not revealed.
Why should you care?
Content blocking apps promise to improve the mobile Safari user experience by eliminating ads and accelerating page load time. Should their use become prevalent on Apple iPhones and tablets — as seems likely — advertising-supported websites will suffer, as will the ability to measure and improve website content and advertising.
That said, this is a hell of our own making. As one Crystal user comments: “Publishers could have had fast loading, low tracking, low bandwidth pages, but…when I exceed my monthly 2GB data cap and never load videos or other traditionally large content, then something is wrong”.
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