Home Press Release Google delays Chrome updates that can significantly affect ad blocking extensions

Google delays Chrome updates that can significantly affect ad blocking extensions

The previous extensions standard will no longer be turned off starting in January, while the remaining timeline is reportedly "under review."

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Simeon Vincent, the company’s developer advocate for Chrome Extensions, has announced that Google no longer intends to start disabling the outdated extensions standard for the Chrome browser in January (via 9to5Google).

The firm is now changing its extension standards from Manifest V2 (MV2) to Manifest V3 (MV3). Which Google claims would enhance the security and functionality of its browser. However, detractors assert that MV3 will make it more difficult for ad-blocking extensions to function.

An excellent explanation of the dispute was written earlier this year by my old coworker Corin Faife. The TL;DR is that Web Request, a potent API used by ad-blocking extensions, is replaced by Declarative Net Request in MV3.In an effort to reduce security risks, the latter provides ad-blocking extensions with less control. But critics claim that this limits the steps that genuine extensions might take to protect user privacy.

Reading Corin’s article is highly recommended for a more detailed explanation.

Google had announced plans to experiment with disabling MV2 in Chrome’s Canary, Dev, and Beta channels beginning in January 2023. In June 2023, the trials would be expanded to include the browser’s stable versions. And in January 2024, MV2 extensions would no longer be supported at all. However, as of December 9th, it has delayed the January experiments and put upcoming benchmarks “under review.”

Vincent claims in his post that the timeline has been adjusted to take into account developer suggestions. In particular, the inability of the service worker to exploit DOM features and the present hard limits on extended service worker durations. He says, “we’ve heard your feedback on frequent issues created by the move.” “We’re currently working on a solution for the latter while minimising the former with the Offscreen Documents API (introduced in Chrome 109),” the statement continued.

While competing for privacy-focused addons, Ghostery has objected to the MV3 changes. It’s important to note that Adblock Plus supports them. However, since advertising still accounts for a significant portion of Google’s revenue, ad-blocking is a touchy subject when it comes to the firm.

Additionally, since the modifications are being made to the Chromium project rather than simply Chrome alone. They are probably going to have an effect on other browsers like Edge, Brave, and Opera.

Despite the delays, it appears that Google does not intend to completely abandon its migration to MV3. According to Vincent, Google would declare a “updated phase-out plan and schedule” in March of the next year.

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