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Chrome's Adblocker Controversy: Google Raises the Maximum Limit

You've probably read a lot about the upcoming Manifest V3 for Google Chrome extensions and the controversy about changes that affect ad blocker and other add-ons on the platform.

An initial draft of the Manifest V3 for Chrome extensions was published publicly in January 2019. Criticism erupted because one of the changes would weaken the ad extension feature for Chrome extensions.

Without going into too many details: content blocker on Chrome uses an API called webRequest API to block certain elements of visiting web pages. Google's plan was then to "read only" the API and move the blocking function to a new API called declarativeNetRequest API.

One of the biggest problems with the API was that it had a fixed limit of 30,000; Popular listing lock filters like EasyList have more than twice as many rules as possible, making it impossible to load all the files if the new Manifest file is launched by Google. One of Google's claims that extensions that would use the old API adversely affect performance were rejected.

Raymond Hill, the creator of uBlock Origin and uMatrix, noted that the change would end their Google Chrome extensions and similar comments were made by other developers.

Google attempted to deal with concerns in May by making minor changes to the API, but the company added an alternative to using 5000 dynamic rules, but the overall consensus was that the restrictions would still limit.

 ublock chrome

Companies that use chrome as their core for their browsers, eg. Brave or Vivaldi was quick to note that they would find roads around the border.

Google announced changes it plans to make to the Network for Explanatory Network Request that would raise the API limit to 150,000. Google also noted that it is actively exploring alternatives to include other methods that could help add-on developers to leverage the API: n better.

We are actively exploring other ways to expand this API, including adding methods to get feedback on matched rules and support for richer redirects using URL manipulation and regular expressions. In addition, we are currently planning to change the rule limit from maximum 30k rules per supplement to a global maximum of 150k rules.

Google notes that the proposed changes were never designed to "prevent or weaken" ad blockers on the Chrome platform and that Google's main motivation for the change was to "provide developers with a way to create safer and more efficient ad blocker".

Another argument that Google makes to validate the API change is that the API has been abused previously malicious developers to access the user's "credentials, accounts, or personal information".

The argument is puzzling given that Google previously announced that it will only remove the blocked part of the webRequest API when Manifest V3 is launched. It appears that malicious extension developers can still use it to access user data by following up requests.

Developers have expressed other problems because Google focuses on a rules-based approach. What functionality is not rule-based may not be supported by Chrome extensions if the changes start in the current form.

Now you : What do you take on Google's message?


  Chrome's Adblocker Controversy: Google Increases the Limit

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Chrome's Adblocker Controversy: Google Increases Limit


Google revealed plans to modify the controversial Manifest V3 for Chrome extensions to better address issues raised by Chrome developers.


Martin Brinkmann


Ghacks Technology News


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