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Google is not killing ad blockers; wants to make them 'faster and safer'

Any web browser extension which is based on the “Web Request” API in Google Chrome has silent access to all the traffic. This means that the extension in question will have access to private data like personal photos or emails.

  • Published: June 14, 2019 1:14 PM IST
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If you have been following the news regarding Google Chrome then you may have heard about Manifest V3. This new standard was the center of a controversy when Google initially announced it last year. It seemed like Google was trying to break all current ad blockers for Google Chrome. This is because the Manifest V3 standard would replace WebRequest API with a new DeclarativeNetRequest API. Also Read - How to enable Dark Mode on Google Chrome for Android

Also Read - New screenshots of Google Chrome confirm 'touchless' Android Oreo-based OS

Now after months of speculation, criticism, and somewhat fear, Google has issued a dedicated blog post to clarify its intention with this new API and changes of the API. Google revealed that it has created an internal performance test for all the ad blockers. This is to reaffirm that the company is committed to supporting ad blockers on Google Chrome. Beyond this, Google also shared a detailed explanation about why it is taking this step. Also Read - Google Chrome version 75 will restrict websites from detecting you in incognito mode

The reason behind moving Google Chrome to Manifest V3

The reason for this was that any web browser extension which is based on the Web Request API has silent access to all the Google Chrome traffic. This means that the extension in question will have access to private data like personal photos or emails. Giving access to all the Chrome traffic including sensitive data may not be a problem with popular and known extensions. But, this also includes about 42 percent of malicious Chrome extensions. This means that all Google is doing is to fix this problematic privacy that may have been an issue for a majority of users.

Google Chrome Web Request API behavior

Google Chrome Web Request API behavior

Making Chrome Ad blockers more secure and faster

Digging further, Google revealed that the Web Request API needs to check each and every network request. On the other hand, the Declarative API declares the actions ahead of time that the browser needs to take. In addition to the way the two APIs work, Google also revealed that it has resulted in performance improvements. It also stated that this new API will bring performance, user privacy and data security for both the browser as well as the user. And yes, it also comes with support for Ad blockers. Google also addresses the criticism that it received towards completely moving to the new API. It added that providing both the Declarative and Web Request as options is not possible. In fact, if Google did this then extension developers will not move to the newer standard.

Google Chrome Declarative API behavior

Google Chrome Declarative API behavior

However, Google will continue to provide the Web Request API for enterprise users because of possible deep integration. The company revealed that it is continuously working to improve the API with more feedback. Last but not least, Google did not provide any timeline about when it will remove the Web Request API to move to Declarative API. Though, it appears that it wants to address and work on the Manifest V3 standard more with the help of feedback from the developers.

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  • Published Date: June 14, 2019 1:14 PM IST



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