By the Middle of The Year 2024, Google Chrome Will Implement a Significant Change to The Way Extensions Work

Google Chrome extension developers are gearing up for a significant change as Manifest V3, the up-and-coming new extension manifest, is set to replace its predecessor, Manifest V2, by mid-2024. This move has sparked a wave of reactions from developers, adblocking companies, and digital privacy advocates.

What is Manifest V3?

Manifest V3 is Google Chrome’s next specification for extensions, with the company announcing the discontinuation of Manifest V2 in June 2024. This means that extensions still relying on Manifest V2 will be remotely deactivated, and new installations via the Chrome Web Store will be prevented.

Improvements in Manifest V3:

Google has made several improvements to Manifest V3 in response to criticisms from Adblock developers. These improvements include enhanced content filtering support with more generous limits, better control over service worker lifetimes, and a new User Scripts API. Additionally, extensions relying on background playback will also see improvements under Manifest V3.

Backlash and Transition:

Despite facing backlash from developers, Google has expressed confidence in the changes it has made to Manifest V3, aiming to phase out Manifest V2 with Chrome 127 and newer. The transition will be gradual, giving some users the opportunity to retain their extensions for a little longer.

Developer Response and Collaboration:

Google encourages developers to make the switch to Manifest V3, and highlights increased support among the extension developer community. The company has also collaborated with companies like AdGuard to improve Manifest V3 further, specifically for tracker and ad blocking. AdGuard has expressed “cautious optimism” about the change, suggesting a positive outlook from some stakeholders.

Challenges and Critics:

The digital privacy nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) acknowledges the helpful changes in Manifest V3 but emphasizes the ongoing challenge of maintaining innovation and keeping up with advertisers and trackers. Google’s ongoing crusade against adblockers, particularly on YouTube, has led to aggressive retaliation, resulting in privacy lawsuits in the EU.

Google Chrome’s transition to Manifest V3 by mid-2024 marks a significant shift for extension developers, Adblock companies, and digital privacy advocates. While the changes aim to address some of the concerns raised by developers, ongoing challenges and criticisms suggest that the evolution of API and the balance between user privacy and advertising interests remain contentious issues. As the transition progresses, the impact on the extension developer community and the digital privacy landscape will continue to unfold.

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