Google Chrome’s New Extensions Plan May Kill Ad Blockers

Tech News

Google plans to enhance the Chrome browser experience. However, it has provoked different extension developers. The plan if executed will improve Chrome’s performance and security but also cripple extensions, which are designed to block Ads and malicious links while browsing online.

Which Extensions Will Be Troubled?

Which Extensions Will Be Troubled
Source – arstechnica

Google’s proposal will affect tracker blocker Ghostery, uBlock Origin- an open source ad blocker, NoScript- JavaScript software blocker, password manager Privowny and F-Secure’s malware blocker.

Google has already stated that it’s trying to enhance Chrome without hampering any working extensions.

The company says,

“We want to make sure all fundamental use cases are still possible with these changes and are working with extension developers to make sure their extensions continue to work while optimizing the extensions platform and better protecting our users”.

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What Extension Authors Have To Say?

The Tracker blocker Ghostery’s creator Cliqz commented on the proposal,

“This would basically mean that Google is destroying ad blocking and privacy protection as we know it,” the company said in a statement Wednesday. “Whether Google does this to protect their advertising business or simply to force its own rules on everyone else, it would be nothing less than another case of misuse of its market-dominating position. If this comes true, we will consider filing an antitrust complaint.”

What Extension Authors Have To Say
Source – 9to5google

What Is Manifest v3?

Manifest v3 is a part of the proposal, which would be designed to enhance Chrome extensions’ security, privacy and performance. But it limits extensions to examine various aspects of websites. It will affect the way extensions verify website elements and check if they are from the list of too many advertising sources. Google has set the limit to 30,000.

Blockade.io, an extension that protect Chrome users from malicious links, will stop functioning due to the Manifest v3 plan. Brandon Dixon, founder of Blockade.io in the Wednesday mailing list post says,

“I maintain Blockade.io, a Chrome Extension that prevents such targeted attacks as Claudio mentions in his post. If these changes are published, the extension will cease to function. The current proposal to use “declarativeNetRequest” in place of a blocking webRequest API is not sufficient for two reasons––1) There is a 30K rule limit imposed which is not enough to handle our ruleset (~250K) and 2) Rules force us to explicitly outline the resource to block which is not possible with Blockade as we hash the resources in order to avoid leaking indicator data to anyone who installs the extension.”

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According to an analytics firm called StatCounter, Google Chrome holds 62.28% Browser Market Share Worldwide. Even Safari and Firefox embraces variations of Google Chrome’s extensions technology so that it is possible for extension developers to support various browsers. Privowny’s Co-CTO Daniel Glazman says, “The browser extension technology is “fully in the hands of Google, [which] can and will change it anytime based on its own interests only,”.

However, Google wants to reconsider its extensions plan. Devlin Cronin, a Chrome team member says, “This design is still in a draft state, and will likely change. Our goal is not to break extensions.”

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