Google’s Chrome Update May Disrupt Ad-blockers, Boost for Firefox, Reports Suggest

Google's Chrome Update May Disrupt Ad-blockers, Boost for Firefox, Reports Suggest
(Image: JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Google’s making some changes in their Chrome browser that could shake things up for ad-blocking extensions. It’s not just about limiting the number of filter rules anymore. They’re also giving themselves a big time advantage when it comes to updates, according to reports from Ars Technica citing Engadget.

This move could hit ad-blocker providers hard, especially after YouTube, owned by Google, recently tightened its ad policies.

Here’s the deal: YouTube can quickly switch up how it shows ads. But for ad-blockers to keep up, they need time to react and update their filter lists. These days, updates happen a lot, sometimes multiple times a day. With the current system, providers can skip the Chrome Web Store and update lists directly using the older extension system, Manifest v2.

But with the upcoming Manifest v3, there are new limitations. Stuff like “remotely hosted code” has to go through the store and go through this lengthy verification process. And yep, you guessed it, the same goes for those ad-blocker filter lists. Sometimes the verification might be done in a few hours, but it could also drag on for as long as three weeks.

The catch? These timeframes are for now. Manifest v3 isn’t the norm yet. But if Google makes it compulsory for developers from June 2024, it’s going to pile up the workload for Chrome Web Store verifications, making the wait even longer.

In a nutshell, Google’s making it tougher for ad-blockers to keep up. While YouTube can swiftly dish out updates against ad-blockers, the folks making those blockers might need weeks to counter them.

But here’s an interesting turn: Mozilla’s Firefox could benefit from this. They’ve been talking about their implementation of Manifest v3, assuring users they’ll still get top-notch privacy tools like uBlock Origin and other content blockers. Mozilla hasn’t dropped a specific date for switching from Manifest v2 just yet.

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Carl Woodrow
A seasoned tech enthusiast and writer, Carl delves deep into emerging technologies, offering insightful analysis and reviews on the latest gadgets and trends.