Most ad blockers will be rendered useless by the switch to Manifest V3. Google has been steadily working toward a new extension platform, Manifest V3, for Chrome. There is now a set a date for its release. The company may begin disabling Manifest V2 support in the Canary, Dev, and Beta channels starting with Chrome 112 in January 2023. After that, Chrome 115 (in June) will begin testing the removal of stability-channel support.
All Manifest V2 extensions in the Chrome Web Store will be set to private for the stable channel’s migration to Chrome 3. And finally, in the first month of 2024, all remaining V2 extensions will be decommissioned.
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However, the change has not been without criticism. Even though Google claims that many of the changes made in Manifest V3 are for privacy and security, the changes that would affect ad blockers have received the most criticism. If this happened, they would be unable to function in their current capacity, effectively rendering them useless.
These days, ad blockers like uBlock Origin and AdGuard use Chrome’s “webRequest” API to prevent certain types of HTTP requests from being made. However, this approach can lengthen the time it takes for pages to load and display, which Google would prefer to avoid. In its place, Manifest V3 mandates using a “declarativeNetRequest,” which effectively requires using a blocklist of particular URLs. The issue is a cap of 30,000 “rules” on the list. Ad-blocking lists can have hundreds of thousands of members.
A tiny sliver of good news for business users: Manifest V2 extensions will still be supported until January 2024.
Although the new Chrome extension platform will launch in 2023, Google is facing criticism for its decision. Even the release of Google’s latest extension platform, Manifest V3 for Chrome, is scheduled. In Chrome 112, scheduled for release in January 2023, Manifest V2 will no longer be supported in Canary, Dev, or Beta.