Starting in November 2020, Google will not allow new websites and apps to use Google Ads, if the site is not in one of its 49 supported languages, over half of which are European. Then, starting April 2021, even websites and apps which were previously approved, but are not in one of the supported languages, will not be able to be earn revenue with Google ads.
The list of 49 approved languages includes 27 European languages, around 20 Asian languages, but no indigenous African or American languages. The world’s largest ad network will also stop serving ads on pages “that do not contain content.”
The new policy, if imposed strictly, could reduce online linguistic diversity. Thousands of websites in unsupported languages currently depend on Google’s ad networks to fund the creation of content, including news and entertainment. For example, although eight Indian languages (Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali, Gujarati, and Marathi) are supported, several other widely spoken Indian languages are not, including Punjabi, which is spoken by over 100 million people worldwide, and Sinhala, spoken by tens of millions of people.
Google has never actually permitted the use of its ad networks on websites in unsupported languages, but it had not enforced blocking such sites out of the system aggressively. Some websites in unsupported languages have overcome the problem by enabling Google Adsense to serve ads through a summary of content in a language that the bots understand, usually English. Some webmasters will likely offer bilingual content to circumvent the prohibition.
This list of Google supported languages may be updated and it can be found here.