Google May Limit Ad blockers for Regular Users Amidst Criticism from Consumer Advocates.
Google Chrome is perhaps the most popular of all web and mobile browsers at the moment, and this popularity is a result of various user-friendly features that it offers. However, the recent decision of Google to deactivate most of the ad blockers with the release of a new Chrome extension can change all that considerably.
Reportedly, there is growing unrest among Chrome users over the announcement from Google. According to Google, there will be a change of rule for its Chrome browser extensions regarding deactivating all kinds of content blockers including ad blockers, parental-control extensions, and other website screeners. It is worth noting that all blockers aren’t included in this list. This rule will come into effect this fall.
Google’s Chrome extension advocate Simeon Vincent posted on the Chrome developer discussion board that Google intends to limit the functions of webRequest, an application program interface/API. This new rule will be part of Manifest V3 or the third version of manifest in webRequest.
After the change takes place, the enterprise deployments of Chrome (versions that have been deployed in-house by large-scale enterprises/organizations) will be able to use the webRequest API fully for blocking unwanted content. This means, the way Chrome extensions work will be changed completely and currently active ad blockers will not be able to work.
It must be noted that currently, Chrome web store offers a huge variety of ad blocking extensions such as Ghostery and Adblock the purpose of which is to limit the extent and volume of online marketing. These extensions make it difficult for ad networks to obtain a detailed profile of all the activities that a user undergoes so as to under browsing habits and post relevant ads.
However, Google has received negative feedback for this decision as users are unhappy, yet, Google will be implementing it despite severe criticism. Google believes that this change is necessary in order to protect the overall user experience and to enhance extension security. On the other hand, consumer advocates and developers claim that the company is after enhancing control over user experience and wants to mint more money.
Under Manifest V3, Google aims to change permissions and other aspects of the Chrome extension system. The new rule would need extensions using the declarativeNetRequest API that will allow the browser to decide which content should be blocked.
In his latest tweet, Chrome’s software security engineer Chris Palmer posted that this new rule will definitely improve the browsing experience of the end-user and that the paid enterprise users will stay unaffected from this change.
Justin Schuh, security leader at Chrome, states that the primary concern behind this change of rule is to ensure optimal user privacy and security since regular Chrome users won’t be able to use the ad blocking capabilities of the browser and content will be blocked even if the user pays for the service.
The sole motivation here is correcting major privacy and security deficiencies in the current system. I know, because I set that focus, and the team reports up through me. And here's a bit more context on the uBlock assertions. https://t.co/aSK5HquB1x
— Justin Schuh 🤬 (@justinschuh) May 30, 2019
“Chrome supports the use and development of ad blockers. We’re actively working with the developer community to get feedback and iterate on the design of a privacy-preserving content filtering system that limits the amount of sensitive browser data shared with third parties,” Google said in a statement.