Google Partially Steps Back From Chrome API Changes That Blocks Ad Blockers

Google has received lots of criticism since it announced Chrome API updates regarding ad blockers and extensions. It seems the pressure had been a lot more to handle, as Google has partially backed off from their earlier plans. Clarifying further the future Chrome API changes, Google reveals it is not ending up the previous API altogether.

Story Behind Chrome API Update

Last month, Google announced major changes in the Chrome API. These changes predominantly targeted ad blockers and other extensions. Google actually planned to restrict extensions’ capabilities in an attempt to improve browser performance.

Google justified its plans by stating that repeated web requests from ad blockers negatively affect Chrome browser’s performance. Thus they decided to launch declarativeNetRequest API as an alternative to webRequest API.

Nonetheless, right after the announcement, the developers expressed their concerns about the Chrome API changes. Supposedly, the modifications could kill numerous ad blockers and browser extensions. The affected ones even include the popular ad blockers, such as uBlock Origin, Adblock Plus.

Recently, the developers of Ghostery ad blocker conducted a detailed study including numerous ad blockers. They aimed at evaluating the effect of ad blockers on Chrome’s performance to validate/nullify Google’s explanation. The ad blockers evaluated in their study include uBlock Origin, DuckDuckGo’s adblocker, Adblock Plus, Brave’s adblocker, and their own Ghostery and Cliqz’s adblocker. From the results obtained, they deduced that these ad blockers seemingly have no effect on browser performance.

“From the measurements, we do not think this claim holds, as all popular content-blockers are already very efficient and should not incur any noticeable slow-down for users. Moreover, the efficiency of content-blockers is continuously improving.”

Google Partially Backs Off From Planned Chrome API Changes

After the recent study surfaced online, Google clarified its plans regarding the Manifest V3. Google has allegedly decided to step back (partially) from their previous decision of blocking ad blockers. As revealed recently, Google does not plan to end the previous API completely.

“I’d like to reiterate that all of these changes are still in the draft and design stage,… The declarativeNetRequest API is still being expanded and is under active development, and the exact changes that will be implemented as part of Manifest V3 are not finalized… Another clarification is that the webRequest API is not going to be fully removed as part of Manifest V3.”

The post further explained that Google is actively taking feedback regarding Manifest V3 into consideration. They will also make some changes in the declarativeNetRequest API in the light of the concerns received.

Earlier too, Google expressed its flexibility to reverse the changes. Once again, they assure not to end support for Manifest V2 until Manifest V3 is ready.

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