Ad-blockers are likely the best things that have been created to make life easier for internet surfers. It is usually the first thing that most users install after opening the browser for the first time. The reason ad blockers have gained such importance is due to the dramatic increase in the number of advertisements on the internet. Blocking adds improved the overall internet web surfing experience by decreasing the size of web pages, decreasing the CPU resources that a browser requires by blocking any junk scripts. Ad blockers also improve the overall security of the system by blocking any possible malicious advertisements that may serve viruses to the regular internet user.
However, if the latest information is to be believed then engineers at Google are currently discussing some changes in Chromium browser that may break a number of ad-blockers. For context, Chromium is the open-source browser that is the base of Google Chrome and a number of other Chromium-based browsers. According to a report by The Register, the changes will break extensions that block any content on the browser which includes a number of ad-blockers. The report also noted that these changes “will also limit the capabilities” for developers while developing future extensions. Google is thinking about these changes to improve the so-called safety and speed of the browser.
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This information was spotted by Raymond Hill, the developer responsible for creating extensions including uBlock Origin and uMatrix. The so-called changes are part of the Manifest v3 proposal and they will “take” the control “away from users”. This is because ad-blockers or rather content blockers work on the idea that users should be in control of what their browsers present to them. Google claims that the changes will improve the speed, performance, security, and privacy of the browser while improving user control.
The company even added that “users should have increased control over their extensions” including the information that is available to the extensions. The core change that this idea wants to bring about is replacing the current “webRequest” API with a new “declarativeNetRequest”. The current webRequest API allows uBlock and others to see, block, redirect, or even modify network requests. Google claims that this makes the web page loading slower as the browser has to wait for the extension.
The new webRequest will only be able to read the network requests shifting the responsibility of handling network requests away from extensions to the browser. Google claims that this will improve privacy for users but the problem here is that now the privacy is defined by Google instead of the third party extensions. This means that users will have no alternative to control what is shown on the internet if Google and its services are the primary problems. If the company moves forward with the proposed changes then a number of content blocking extensions will be rendered useless.
Things like Adblock Plus would still work as it works on whitelisting or blacklisting ads without providing comprehensive control to the user. However, uBlock and uMatrix, the ones that provide full control to the users will be penalized. Hill concluded by adding that these changes move ahead then Chromium will stop serving users. According to the report, a spokesperson for Google added, “Things are subject to change” and that the company will share more when the updates are available.