Google Chrome To Bring Changes In Manifest V3 After Their Claims Were Proven Wrong

A while ago controversy against Chrome wiping off the ad blockers and other extensions broke out. Chrome made certain claims which were proven wrong through a study carried out by the team of Ghostery ad blocker.

According to the study published on Who Tracks Me blog, there was a sub-millisecond impact when a request to Chrome’s network was made by ad blockers.

Last October, Chrome announced a standard for developing extensions, called Manifest V3, based on which Ghostery carried out its study. Shortly after the study along with benchmark results was posted, Chrome took back their modification plans.

The document by Chrome had rules set that which of the Chrome functions and APIs should be used in extension development. It included that extensions should intercept and work with network requests. Instead of using WebRequest API, extensions were asked to use new DeclarativeNetRequest API, limiting the number of network requests the extension can access. Both users and extension developers accused Chrome that it had been trying to undermine third party ad blockers because of its own built-in ad blocker.

In Chrome’s defense, engineers showed how not having the defined number of network requests for an extension could affect its performance. Whereas Ghostery team opposed the statement saying that their study is based on one of the claims of Manifest V3 proposal which states that extensions can perform arbitrary Javascript, abling content blockers to access all network requests.

They were of the view that most common content blockers are very efficient and there is no prominent slow-downing for users. The study included the performance analysis of some of the popular ad blockers like Adblock Plus, Bravo, DuckDuckGo, showing the sub-millisecond decision time taken per request, which clearly opposed the Chrome team’s claims.

A few hours later, after the study came out, Google engineers announced about the relaxation made in Manifest V3, that might have affected ad blockers. Devlin Cronin, one of the Chrome engineers said that webRequest API will not be eliminated entirely on Manifest V3.
"webRequest API is not going to be fully removed as part of Manifest V3. In particular, there are currently no planned changes to the observational capabilities of webRequest (i.e., anything that does not modify the request). We are also continually listening to and evaluating the feedback we’re receiving, and we are still narrowing down proposed changes to the webRequest API.", explained Devlin Cronin in Google group post.
Cronin made clear that extensions have been playing a vital role to let customers customize Chrome according to their needs and they intend to preserve the extension ecosystem. Chrome will continue supporting extensions be they related to content blocking, developers tools and any other.

Users are accustomed to extensions and have been part of their usage. According to various studies, not all extension slowdown performance and thus often loads pages faster. While there are some that increase the CPU consumption and page download size.

Related: Creepy Websites Will No Longer Be Able To Detect Chrome Incognito Mode

After backlash over Chrome ad-block block plan, Google backs away from crippling web advert, content filters
Image: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

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