Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Slower Chrome Extension Updates

Ron Amadeo (via Hacker News):

Google’s war on ad blockers is just gearing up, with YouTube doing its best to detect and block ad blockers and Chrome aiming to roll out the ad block-limiting Manifest V3 extension platform in June 2024. A new article from Engadget detailing the “arms race” over ad blocking brings up an interesting point regarding the power that YouTube and Chrome have in this battle: a dramatic update advantage over the ad blockers.

In addition to hamstringing Chrome’s extension platform with no real user-centric justifications, Manifest V3 will also put roadblocks up before extension updates, which will delay an extension developer’s ability to quickly respond to changes. YouTube can instantly switch up its ad delivery system, but once Manifest V3 becomes mandatory, that won’t be true for extension developers. If ad blocking is a cat-and-mouse game of updates and counter-updates, then Google will force the mouse to slow down.


All updates, even to benign things like a filtering list, will need to happen through full extension updates through the Chrome Web Store. They will all be subject to Chrome Web Store reviews process, and that comes with a significant time delay.


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I wonder if any of the other Chromium-based browsers are going to try and keep manifest v2 support going? And if so, I wonder how they intend to do that?

Ungoogled Chromium has been my go-to secondary browser for a while but if it loses support for a fully featured and powerful uBlock Origin (and I don't see how it couldn't give it's just Chrome with certain features switched off) then I'm going to have to say goodbye to it.

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