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How to Block Pokémon Go From Your Browser (Sort Of)

Pokémon Go has been out for only a week, but plenty of people (this author included) are already tired of hearing about it. What’s a curmudgeon to do? Well, if you absolutely, positively don’t want to see Pokémon Go anywhere on your Internet browser, you could try the PokeGone Chrome extension. The only downside is that you might not see much of anything else.

The PokeGone Chrome extension is exactly what it sounds like: an add-on for Google’s Chrome browser that blocks out all mention of Pokémon Go. Jamie Farrelly, a software developer, got the idea from Rob Spectre’s Trump Filter: another Chrome extension that serves pretty much the same purpose, but for mentions of Donald Trump. By modifying Spectre’s open source code, Farrelly was able to code PokeGone and get it up and running on the Chrome Web Store within just a few days.

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As for how well it works, it’s a mixed bag. In my experience, it was either too undiscerning or completely oblivious. The app offers three settings: Mild, Aggressive and Vindictive. On the Mild setting, websites still loaded (albeit at a slower pace), and text mentioning Pokémon Go usually didn’t load up. This didn’t affect pictures, however, or text that makes more oblique reference to the game.

On the Aggressive and Vindictive settings, things got much worse. Entire sites, including Gamespot and Laptop’s sister site Tom’s Guide, failed to load at all. Google News was a big blank, even though most of the stories had nothing to do with Nintendo’s new AR title. Bizarrely, some sites like Facebook still showed Pokémon Go news and statuses front and center. This makes the add-on of questionable utility, since most of the annoyance from the game’s nonstop coverage comes from overzealous friends and family.

PokeGone is a cute idea, and that Farrelly was able to pull it together so fast is a testament to both his skills and his resentment. If you’ve really had it with the catchable critters, you could install it and give it a whirl. But if Pokémon Go is a fad, that probably goes double for anything trying to ride the trend.