Google Chrome gives ad blockers another reprieve


Google does not intend to block ad blockers on Chrome. But the firm has been preparing an update for years, called Manifest V3, which could affect the proper functioning of certain ad blocking extensions.

To sum up, Manifest V3 is the new ecosystem for Chrome extensions. The update aims to improve performance, as well as security. But it can also limit the filtering possibilities of ad blockers.

This problem has been mentioned by developers and some even speak of “apocalypse”. But despite this, Google had planned to impose this change from 2023.

In October, Google announced that it would end support for the old ecosystem, Manifest V2, on Chrome, starting in January 2023. But eventually, the firm changed its mind. And ad blocker developers affected by this change can take a breather.

As 9to5Google reports, Google recently updated its site to state: “Manifest V2 deprecation timelines are being reviewed and experiments scheduled for early 2023 are postponed.”

Soon, a new date?

On its website, Google has crossed out the dates originally planned for the deprecation of the Manifest V2 ecosystem. The firm had planned that from January 2023, it could experiment with removing support for Manifest V2 on Chrome.

But ultimately it was pushed back. Other dates are “under review”. Among the dates that Google is looking at is June 2023. From that date (if validated), Google might start experimenting with removing support for Manifest V2 on stable versions of Chrome.

Starting in January 2024, Google may remove extensions still using Manifest V2 from its extension store. But it is also under review.
Currently, it is no longer possible to launch a new Chrome extension using the Manifest V2 ecosystem.

Why is this update controversial?

The problem some adblocker developers have with the Manifest V3 update is that it limits software filtering capabilities. AdGuard, which develops an ad blocker, has already adapted its software to Manifest V3.

In a blog post, he explains that:

“For static rules, Chrome has set a guaranteed minimum limit of 30,000 rules per extension and a total limit of 330,000 rules for all extensions installed by a single user (this also takes into account the limit of 1,000 regexp rules per extension). The problem is that one extension may get the entire amount of rules allowed, or there may be several, and then maybe some of the extensions will not meet the limit.”

On the version of its adblocker that it has developed to comply with Google’s requirements, AdGuard has provided a message that is displayed when the quota of rules (and therefore of filtering possibilities) is exhausted.

Google Chrome
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