Earlier this year, Google proposed changes to the open-source Chromium browser that would break content-blocking extensions, including various ad blockers. Despite the overwhelming negative feedback to the move, Google appears to be standing firm on the changes, sharing that current ad blocking capabilities will be restricted to enterprise users. 9to5Google reports: manifest V3 comprises a major change to Chrome’s extensions system, including a revamp to the permissions system and a fundamental change to the way ad blockers operate. In particular, modern ad blockers, like uBlock Origin and Ghostery, use Chrome’s webRequest API to block ads before they’re even downloaded. With the manifest V3 proposal, Google deprecates the webRequest API’s ability to block a particular request before it’s loaded. As you would expect, power users and extension developers alike criticized Google’s proposal for limiting the user’s ability to browse the web as they see fit.
Now, months later, Google has responded to some of the various issues raised by the community, sharing more details on the changes to permissions and more. The most notable aspect of their response, however, is a single sentence buried in the text, clarifying their changes to ad blocking and privacy blocking extensions: “Chrome is deprecating the blocking capabilities of the webRequest API in manifest V3, not the entire webRequest API (though blocking will still be available to enterprise deployments).” Google is essentially saying that Chrome will still have the capability to block unwanted content, but this will be restricted to only paid, enterprise users of Chrome. This is likely to allow enterprise customers to develop in-house Chrome extensions, not for ad blocking usage.
“America is a stronger nation for the ACLU’s uncompromising effort.”
— President John F. Kennedy