Changes are coming to Chrome that will render many popular extensions (including those that block ads) unusable. And that’s by design. Google is a search and advertising apparatus first, and that cash cow must be protected.
Back in January, Google announced a proposed change to Chrome’s extensions system, called Manifest V3, that would stop current ad blockers from working efficiently. In a response to the overwhelming negative feedback, Google is standing firm on Chrome’s ad blocking changes, sharing that current ad blocking capabilities will be restricted to enterprise users.
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.
uBlock Origin developer Raymond Hill notes:
Google’s primary business is incompatible with unimpeded content blocking. Now that Google Chrome product has achieve high market share, the content blocking concerns as stated in its 10K filing are being tackled.
Even Google admits this.
New and existing technologies could affect our ability to customize ads and/or could block ads online, which would harm our business.
Technologies have been developed to make customizable ads more difficult or to block the display of ads altogether and some providers of online services have integrated technologies that could potentially impair the core functionality of third-party digital advertising. Most of our Google revenues are derived from fees paid to us in connection with the display of ads online. As a result, such technologies and tools could adversely affect our operating results.
“We are starting to see Google’s conflict of interest arising,” independent security consultant Sean Wright said in comments to cybersecurity consultant “Google relies on the revenue of advertising, so one can see why they would make such a move.”
Wright recommends switching from Chrome to Brave and deploying a Pi-hole at home.
(We at Google Watchdog prefer Firefox.)