Google had previously announced that it was making a few changes to the Chrome browser which will cripple several ad-blockers from working on the platform. The announcement met with severe criticism and several users questioned the tech giant as to what security enhancement was to be achieved through this update.
The tech giant seems to be unshaken with the backlash as it is pushing ahead with the update named ‘Manifest V3.’ Google said that the only people who shall be able to fully use ad blockers in the browser are going to be Google enterprise users only.
The first rollout of the Manifest V3 in the form of a developer preview is revealed to be either in late July or early August. Chromium developer Simeon Vincent confirmed that the developer preview can be found in the Google Canary channel in the aforementioned timeline.
“Manifest V3 is not yet ready for experimentation and feedback. The extensions team is currently working towards releasing a Developer Preview in the Canary channel at the end of July or beginning of August. We’ll be sharing additional details when that lands,” said Vincent.
With this update, Google disables the webRequest API from blocking a request before it’s loaded. Hence, popular ad blockers such as uBlock Origin that rely on Chrome’s webRequest API to block ads before they arrive are now obsolete. Even other extensions such as Tampermonkey which is an userscript manager will also get affected by the new update.
A popular question aimed at Google in regard to Manifest V3 was how the removal of webRequest API “makes absolutely zero sense” when the webRequest, which will still be able to read all the requests, is kept intact.
Responding to the above question, Vincent said, “The Manifest V3 effort aims to improve the security and privacy guarantees of the extensions platform. Today, the only way for an extension to block content is with the webRequest API, the webRequestBlocking permissions, and host permissions for all domains you wish to block content on. These APIs and permissions expose a massive amount of data and capabilities to the extension; data and capabilities that the extension may neither want or need.”
While the developer preview is set to release in the coming month or two, the stable version will at least take till the better part of 2020. Hence users have ample time to switch to other alternatives to Chrome such as Brave and Firefox.