Google is limiting modern ad-blocking Chrome extensions to enterprise customers

Google introduced Manifest V3 as a suggested change for Chrome’s extensions. This was to stop current adblockers working effectively back in January. Google has responded strongly to all negative feedback and announced that Chrome’s new ad blocking features will not be implemented for enterprises.

Manifest includes major changes to Chrome’s extensions systems, such as a revamp of the permissions and fundamental changes in the way adblockers function. In particular, modern adblockers such as uBlock Origin (or Ghostery) use Chrome‚Äôs webRequest API in order to prevent ads being downloaded.

Google proposes to remove the webRequest APIs ability block a request prior to it being loaded. Google’s plan to restrict the user’s access to the internet was condemned by extension developers, as well power users.

Google is now responding, months after the initial community issues were raised. They also shared details regarding the new permissions. However, the most striking aspect of Google’s response is a single sentence embedded in their text that clarifies their new privacy blocking extensions as well as their changes to ad block.

Chrome is removing the blocking capabilities for the webRequestapi from Manifest V3. This does not affect the webRequestapi as a whole. However, enterprise deployments can still use the webRequestapi to block requests.

Google says Chrome will not be able block any unwanted content. This is in line with Google’s statement that Chrome can still do so, but it will limit Chrome to enterprise-level users. These extensions will likely be used for internal purposes by enterprise customers, and not for blocking ad content.

For the rest of us, Google hasn’t budged on their changes to content blockers, meaning that ad blockers will need to switch to a less effective, rules-based system, called “declarativeNetRequest.”

A major concern in switching to this system was Chrome’s current limitation of only 30,000 rules. Popular ad blocking list lists, such as , use more than 75,000 rules. Google stated that it is looking at ways to improve this number, but they couldn’t promise anything.

Although we are looking to improve these numbers, until we run performance tests on all supported devices to ensure that we find an acceptable upper limit we will not be able to update the data.

Raymond Hill is the principal developer at uBlock Origin.

Google’s primary business can not be used with unimpeded blocking of content. Google Chrome’s market share has increased and content blocking concerns, as detailed in the 10K filing, are now being resolved.

Google admitted that in their most recent SEC form 10-K filing , Alphabet. Hill discovered the file in which ads blocking extensions are listed as a “risk element” in Google’s revenues.

The ability to tailor ads for our customers and block them online could be impaired by existing and new technologies. We may lose our business.

Many technologies have been designed to prevent the display of customizable ads, or make it more difficult to do so. Additionally, some online providers integrate technology that might compromise the fundamental functionality of digital third-party advertising. Google makes most of its revenue from the sale of advertising online. These tools and technologies could have a negative impact on our operations results.

This makes the Chrome change very sensible if you consider it a means for Google better to deliver ads on your device. Allowing in-depth adblockers to operate is a direct and negative affect on their largest revenue stream. Chrome’s enterprise customers get an exception because they are a different revenue stream.

Update 05/30 – A Google spokesperson reached us to clarify Chrome’s position concerning ad blockers. They also reiterated their commitment to Manifest V3 and the community.

Chrome supports the development and use adblockers. To get input and improve the privacy-preserving content filtering systems, we’re working closely with developers.

9to5Google.com’s Take

Firefox can be used across all platforms. Be sure to deblock websites that you are not willing to pay for.

This article has been updated to remove an inaccurate statement directly comparing declarativeNetRequest with AdBlock Plus and to add a link to information on Chrome Enterprise.

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