Good day, readers! I have to admit that I’m going through some stressful times at the moment, but what better way to deal with them than by writing?
That being said, in a couple of earlier posts, I reviewed such privacy tools as Adblock Plus, Ghostery, Redmorph Browser Controller, and uBlock Origin.
Ad-archy in the U.K.
In case you’re unfamiliar with it, that’s Adblock Fast’s logo. Is it just me, or is that the anarchy symbol? Yeah, it is (according to my sources).
Anyhow, though many of these ad-blocking extensions (Adblock, Adblock Plus, uBlock) and apps have similar names, they function in rather different ways. Some use heuristic blocking (like Privacy Badger), while many others use filter lists, like EasyList, to forbid trackers.
Adblock Fast (“ABF”) is in the latter category, like some of its contemporaries. According to their FAQ, ABF’s ruleset is derived from EasyList and that of Bluhell Firewall. They also say that they’re in the process of testing a new alternative ruleset to improve the app’s blocking capabilities.
I have to give credit to ABF, though – it really is one of the simplest ad blockers I’ve ever used. (Plus it’s free and open source; you can’t really fault them for that.)
According to their official site, many of the more popular ad-blocking plugins use an excessive number of filtering rules to prevent trackers, whereas ABF only uses seven. What?? Seven???
Well, yes, if this chart isn’t one of those deceptive graphs:
I can’t resist; may I just take a moment and insert an original George Carlin image macro in here?
If you install ABF on Chrome or Opera, you should see a little button on the toolbar with the company logo on it. If the “A” on the button has a circle around it, like in the picture above, ads are being blocked on the site. If not, ads are allowed. All you need to do to block or unblock ads is to click on the A button again.
I will say that for the techie crowd, ABF may seem a bit too simple (especially compared to more advanced blockers such as µMatrix). It’s not nearly as customizable (at least to my knowledge).
On the other hand, Adblock Plus, as I mentioned in a previous post, allows you to add custom filters and whitelisted domains, as well as to add filter subscriptions from the lists I mentioned before. And blockers like uBlock Origin allow you to select specific elements within a page and disallow them.
Thus far, on alternativeTo – Crowdsourced software recommendations, Adblock Fast has only received three “likes,” but this may be because Google had temporarily banned ad blockers from the Play Store, and recently reversed the ban. Plus, it’s relatively new to the ad-blocking competition. So they may need a little time to get their bearings.
The Androids are Coming
I had hoped to include the Android version of Adblock Fast in this review, but apparently that requires that I download Samsung Internet for Android, and I’m almost at my data limit for the month.
Currently, ABF is also available for Opera, iOS 9 (on 64-bit devices, iPhone 5s and up, and iPad Mini 2 and up).
Perhaps this post will need sequel…hmm? In any case, my final word is – Adblock Fast is a good blocker overall. It does its job quickly and efficiently, and is easy to learn. On the other hand, I don’t necessarily recommend it for people who like “manual transmission”-style privacy tools. For those folks, I think apps like uMatrix and uBlock Origin are more appropriate!
P.S. For those of you who might ask why I haven’t reviewed any iPhone apps yet, I don’t own one…but my wife does. Maybe she’ll let me borrow hers for one of these posts, if I bake her breakfast or something.