Google amends proposed Chrome changes that would have broken ad blockers


TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Back in January we reported on planned API changes within Google’s Chrome browser that would have decimated the capabilities of various plugins, most notably ad blockers and antivirus extensions. At the time, Google said that such plugins were negatively affecting performance, and that by making changes to how web requests are handled, Chrome would be a faster, more efficient browser.

Developers weren’t happy with the proposed changes, and Cliqz, the makers of Ghostery ad blocker, decided to test Google’s claims.

Cliqz put together a comprehensive study looking at how popular ad blockers such as uBlock Origin, Adblock Plus and their own product Ghostery affected page loading times. It turns out that Google’s claims were bogus.

According to Cliqz, “all popular content-blockers are very efficient, having sub-millisecond median decision time per request.” They continued, saying that tested products “should not result in any over-head noticeable by users.”

Within hours of the study being published, Google put out a post of their own setting out how they’re modifying their former proposals to take note of developer feedback. In the post, Google stressed that “it is not, nor has it ever been, our goal to prevent or break content blocking” (emphasis theirs).

It appears Google have taken on board feedback pertaining to a number of aspects of their proposal to move to the new Manifest v3 standard. For example, Google had said they would limit the size of rule sets an extension could list, limiting them to 30,000 entries. Developers’ lists of rules can run into the millions, so the cut would have made such a list-based approach untenable. Similarly, their new standards had lacked functionality to block media based on conditions such as resource size – which Google has now said they will add support for.

No doubt developers will continue to scrutinize the changes, but this latest development seems like a win for extension developers and consumers alike.

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TS Evangelist
The data mongers will say and do anything it takes to sell you out as completely as possible. Worse, their becoming more and more compromised by governments that wants access to all that ill-gotten information. The organized assault on anonymity is rapidly being combined with the assault on free speech. The end goal is clear: to know everything about us while carefully controlling all information. Dissenters are being steadily disenfranchised while the powers-that-be push a phony consensus that encourages state-approved groupthink. Welcome to the People's Republic of America Inc.


TS Addict
"At the time, Google said that such (adblock) plugins were negatively affecting performance"
Back in the real world, the truth is the exact opposite:-
That study seems skewed in order to find the best plugin, not to show how performance is impacted by an adblocker. I’m not saying I disagree with you, but load time is the only benchmark shown with the control (aka no plugin used). Of course this would be faster when picking websites to compare with lots of ads. In reality, webpages with lots of ads take longer times to load but don’t necessarily impact load time of the core content (unless they’re designed improperly).

Peak CPU and memory without an adblocker could actually be lower. Furthermore, benchmarks I’d like to see is CPU time to load pages and these same benchmarks on pages with medium, low, and no ads.


TS Rookie
I use Ghostery everywhere so this is concerning if it goes away. Then at home I run a small Ubuntu VM with Pi-hole on it as another layer. That really does the trick.


TS Addict
I do NOT use chrome, instead I use FireFox and on my android phone I use Duckduckgo browser. Crap on Google for boring me with all those stupid ads.
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