Google could be dismantling ad-blockers in Chrome extensions update

zakislam

Posts: 52   +1
Why it matters: Google has revealed that its Chrome browser extensions that fall under the Manifest V2 framework will no longer work from January 2023, which could lead to ad-blockers being impacted or just outright ceasing to function.

Developers will not be able to submit new Manifest V2 extensions on the Chrome Web Store come January 17, 2022, although they’ll be able to update existing extensions in the interim. A year later, in January 2023, the browser will no longer run Manifest V2 extensions, and update support will also be cut off.

Manifest V3 was developed to address concerns surrounding security and performance for its predecessor -- V2 could be exploited to create malware and obtain sensitive data.

"Years in the making, Manifest V3 is more secure, performant, and privacy-preserving than its predecessor," said David Li, product manager for Chrome extensions and the Chrome Web Store. "It is an evolution of the extension platform that takes into consideration both the changing web landscape and the future of browser extensions."

Once Manifest V2 extensions are indefinitely blocked in Chrome, developers will naturally need to update their extensions to function under Manifest V3. But it’s not that straightforward for ad-blockers, at least in the case of Raymond Hill, developer of the hugely popular uBlock Origin.

He said the changes in the Manifest V3 proposal would effectively break the extension, which also operates as a content blocker.

As The Register noted, Adblock Plus and other plugins that deliver an ad-free experience for users will still be able to function to an extent, but modifications may make it become a shadow of its former self; the changes in V3 limit the abilities for extension developers.

With full functionality at stake for plugin makers, Firefox creator Mozilla said it'll mostly adopt Manifest V3, but it won’t replace the blocking webRequest API uBlock relies on with Google's alternative, declarativeNetRequest (DNR).

The revision of the Chrome browser extension framework, which was first introduced in 2019, is being stressed by Google as solely an update to patch security issues. "In fact, this change is meant to give developers a way to create safer and more performant ad blockers," the search giant said. But others are not so sure this is the only motivation behind Manifest V3.

"Our criticism still stands," Alexei Miagkov, senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The Register. "The reasons they have stated publicly [for this transition] don't fully make sense."

Google loses billions in revenue from users blocking ads. It even reportedly pays the world’s most popular ad-blocker, Adblock Plus, to whitelist them via its 'Acceptable Ads' policy -- so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise if there is an ulterior motive for Google’s supposed plan to phase out support for ad-blocking technology. It's already cost publishers around $27 billion dollars, and that figure will only continue to rise with users increasingly utilizing ad-blocking on their smartphones, as well as desktops and laptops.

In addition to a changing landscape for ad-blockers on the horizon, Google Chrome recently updated with a controversial Idle Detection API that detects user inactivity.

Permalink to story.

 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,341   +2,629
Must reiterate: If you care at all, start using Firefox today to avoid them being completely out of business by 2023 which is a distinct possibility given how many users they're bleeding.

And someone before mentioned Brave and I'm sure people will mention other Chromium based forks that are de-googled. But the issue there is that as long as they're still working off the main Chrome code they become subservient to Chrome: sure they might "fix" a lot of what Chrome gets very, very wrong but at the same time their popularity is contingent upon Chrome's hegemony so they're never really going to challenge Google and if they do well, Google could just stop updating Chromium and leave all competitors in the dark: there's nothing saying that Google Chrome needs to have party with Chromium and Google knows they can keep competitors in check that way.

After all the competitors are really just helping Google get established as the only name in town: all web development depends on their decisions and once there's no more competitors (And right now there's only Safari and Firefox which hangs by a thread) then they can easily sabotage everybody else.
 
Last edited:

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,760   +5,203
I really cannot believe the BS that gagme is spouting for this. More so, I really cannot believe that there are people out there that will believe this crap anyway. Perhaps a better way to deal with gagme and its crap marketing BS is to use an ad-blocking DNS such as one or both of these two: https://adguard.com/en/adguard-dns/overview.html https://alternate-dns.com/
That will put a dent in chrome and its BS add blocker that still allows gagme to spy on everything.
 

Geralt

Posts: 824   +1,247
I suppose this will also affect other Chromium browsers.
If this happens, I'll have to change browser.
For me, UBlock is essential to have a decent experience navigating the web.
Whenever I use a browser without ad blocking, it's a miserable experience.
No friend, ads are the best thing for everyone, specially in Android. I like them a lot, and also like the data they consume. 😂
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 566   +1,001
Nothing better than going on a site and having it throw out 3+ dozen ads that scroll with you, take up 1/3 of the screen space or constantly have pop-ups or banners stretch across your screen. It's so nice having my senses assaulted by these ads that I just simply browse every webpage that I can so I can get auto-starting ads with audio and flashing lights filling my eyes and ears!

It's like walking into a room with multiple strobe lights going and people slowly dragging their hands across latex balloons to make that high pitched screeching/rubbing sound. It's so satisfying!

In all seriousness, if google decides to official break adblockers from working on Chrome I'll just jump ship to another browser. Or, in all honesty, don't visit many sites I might just outright stop using the internet (the crowd gasps and goes quiet...."Yeah, right!" is what they're all thinking now). I have 5 sites I visit a day - this being one of them. Another site doesn't host ads outside of a couple of rotating spots on the main webpage, and those couple of ads are not intrusive. I won't say I wouldn't miss visiting these sites, but I can find other things to do with my time that won't irritate the heck out of me while assaulting my senses.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,760   +5,203
I use Adguard and problem resolved.
I have not made the jump yet for my home network. Its been on my list of things to do ever since I heard of it. I have a Linux PC that is my gateway and runs a caching DNS for my network. I'll have to update its forwarders. However, its good to know that you are having a good experience with AdGuard.

I use uBlock on most of my browsers (Waterfox), and it does an effective job of blocking most ads including those embedded in You Tub videos. I am sure that gagme will not miss the revenue when I switch to ad-blocking DNS servers for my network DNS.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,760   +5,203
Nothing better than going on a site and having it throw out 3+ dozen ads that scroll with you, take up 1/3 of the screen space or constantly have pop-ups or banners stretch across your screen. It's so nice having my senses assaulted by these ads that I just simply browse every webpage that I can so I can get auto-starting ads with audio and flashing lights filling my eyes and ears!
With Firefox and derivatives, you can configure them to not autoplay media.
 

Geralt

Posts: 824   +1,247
I have not made the jump yet for my home network. Its been on my list of things to do ever since I heard of it. I have a Linux PC that is my gateway and runs a caching DNS for my network. I'll have to update its forwarders. However, its good to know that you are having a good experience with AdGuard.

I use uBlock on most of my browsers (Waterfox), and it does an effective job of blocking most ads including those embedded in You Tub videos. I am sure that gagme will not miss the revenue when I switch to ad-blocking DNS servers for my network DNS.
Cheap and effective. I installed it on Android too and I don't need to pay to any dev for removing ads. With the money I save like this I can easily cover the subscription. I can install Adguard on up to ten devices with one subscription. Goodbye to ads forever.

Hopefully no moderator here will remove this post.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,760   +5,203
Cheap and effective. I installed it on Android too and I don't need to pay to any dev for removing ads. With the money I save like this I can easily cover the subscription. I can install Adguard on up to ten devices with one subscription. Goodbye to ads forever.
I'll probably try Alternate DNS first since I have a central DNS server for my home network and Alternate DNS is free. If that does not work, then I will give AdGuard a go. It will be interesting to see if any sites will not work properly with a DNS like that.
Hopefully no moderator here will remove this post.
Well, its on-topic, but exactly what is on topic seems to be fluid these days at TS.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,949   +1,133
Must reiterate: If you care at all, start using Firefox today to avoid them being completely out of business by 2023 which is a distinct possibility given how many users they're bleeding.

And someone before mentioned Brave and I'm sure people will mention other Chromium based forks that are de-googled. But the issue there is that as long as they're still working off the main Chrome code they become subservient to Chrome: sure they might "fix" a lot of what Chrome gets very, very wrong but at the same time their popularity is contingent upon Chrome's hegemony so they're never really going to challenge Google and if they do well, Google could just stop updating Chromium and leave all competitors in the dark: there's nothing saying that Google Chrome needs to have party with Chromium and Google knows they can keep competitors in check that way.

After all the competitors are really just helping Google get established as the only name in town: all web development depends on their decisions and once there's no more competitors (And right now there's only Safari and Firefox which hangs by a thread) then they can easily sabotage everybody else.
I never even stopped using Firefox. Only time I use a chromium browser (Vivaldi) is the very rare time I run into a site that doesn't play nice with Friefox (like Overleaf, but that one is getting better last I tried it in FF)
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,949   +1,133
I have not made the jump yet for my home network. Its been on my list of things to do ever since I heard of it. I have a Linux PC that is my gateway and runs a caching DNS for my network. I'll have to update its forwarders. However, its good to know that you are having a good experience with AdGuard.

I use uBlock on most of my browsers (Waterfox), and it does an effective job of blocking most ads including those embedded in You Tub videos. I am sure that gagme will not miss the revenue when I switch to ad-blocking DNS servers for my network DNS.
I have also had a good experience with Adguard on Android (even bought a lifetime license). Blocks even most in-app ads. I use a pi-hole at home though, as I wanted something that would cover the whole network (even if friends hopped onto the wifi).
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,760   +5,203
Shameless plug: We try our best not to abuse ads on TechSpot, we don't do stickies and won't overwhelm pages with ads. Those who don't ad block can attest to it.
Admittedly ;) the ad experience is better when logged in. If I am not logged in, I cannot say that I entirely like the ad experience. Then again, most places I have uBlock enabled. I've disabled uBlock on TS.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,760   +5,203
I have also had a good experience with Adguard on Android (even bought a lifetime license). Blocks even most in-app ads. I use a pi-hole at home though, as I wanted something that would cover the whole network (even if friends hopped onto the wifi).
Thanks for the tip on pi-hole. I had a quick look on their web site, and for me, ATM, it seems like too much work to replace what I have setup on my network. Pretty much, all of what I read is being performed by my Linux PC (openSuSE LEAP) and covers all of my network even if I were to allow access to friends, etc., through WiFi.

It will be a relatively simple process for me to replace my DNS forwarders with AdGuard or Alternate DNS. After switching my ISP a few months back, I do have to update the DNS anyway. So just updating my network DNS (DHCP is also provided by this PC and any DHCP client gets the network DNS for the DNS settings) will provide ad-blocking to all clients on my network.
 

dragosmp

Posts: 39   +46
I don't use Chrome but I am afraid Firefox is in danger......
Just when everyone was affraid Firefox slides into irrelevance, here it is bouncing back with the help of Chrome! The irony...

I suspect Google would prefer to loose users and just have 30% the market share with perfect monetisation thru ads rather than 70%, out of which 65% see no ads due to adblockers.