O Google is getting ready to take the Manifest V3 to all users of Google Chrome. The company announced the release schedule of the platform update for browser extensions, which will restrict the functioning of ad blockers. The expectation is that the controversial change will reach everyone from next year.
The announcement relates to Manifest V3. If you don’t know, the update is discussed since 2019, when the document was made public for the first time. At that time, there were already those who disagreed with the successor to Manifest V2 due to the change in the policy behind the extensions to block ads.
The story resurfaced in 2020. At the time, Google gave life to Google Chrome 88 already with the first traces of Manifest V3. Again, the concern came to the fore: under the justification of bringing more privacy and security to users, there was talk again about restricting rules that extensions could apply to web pages.
But implementation began to take shape this year.
Google Chrome will limit ad blockers soon
In February, the Chrome Web Store adopted the change by stop accepting extensions based on the Manifest V2 standard. Now, Google Product Manager David Li has released the next steps for implementing Manifest V3. Check out the repository schedule below:
- January 2023: Manifest V3 will become a prerequisite to earn the “Featured” badge;
- June 2023: the store will no longer list extensions based on Manifest V2;
- January 2024: all extensions based on Manifest V2 will be removed from the store.
The company also revealed the browser’s next steps. “From January on Chrome 112, Chrome will be able to experiment to disable support for Manifest V2 extensions in the Canary, Dev, and Beta channels,” they said. “From June on Chrome 115Chrome will be able to experiment to disable support for Manifest V2 extensions on all channels, including the stable channel.”
That is, if you are a developer, you better prepare yourself.
Update generates controversy among users
Google spares no effort in highlighting the differentials of Manifest V3. In Wednesday’s post, Li notes that the new standard will offer users more security and peace of mind when installing extensions. The executive also talks about transparency and improved control of permissions.
In fact, safety never hurts. The problem is that the update will restrict a type of extension that, for some people, is essential: ad blockers. And, as mentioned above, the change has already started to draw public attention in 2019 for precisely this reason.
The limitation stems from an API change in Manifest V2: the WebRequest. Through it, ad-blocking extensions are able to intercept requests from web pages to prevent the insertion of cookies in the browser or the loading of media files. As a result, websites are unable to load advertising campaigns on users’ computers.
This API, however, will be left out. Instead, Chrome will use the declarativeNetRequest, which requires the extension to tell Chrome a list of rules to analyze so the browser can decide what to block. The new interface also limits the number of rules to avoid.
In short: the performance of ad blockers will be limited with the new API.