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Google Chrome: an update could hurt some ad blockers


Google has released a public consultation regarding possible future changes on Google Chrome. One modification in particular annoys some users and developers since it could prevent certain ad blockers such as uBlock Origin or AdGuard from working.

While Google Chrome is gradually integrating solutions to automatically and natively block advertisements too invasive the most used Internet browser may well prevent some third-party software from running, which allows them to block all ads. It is however not the first will of Google and nothing is yet registered for the moment.

Google prepares a version 3 of his manifesto for the extensions to prevent certain practices of these third-party software “ because of their negative impact on the user experience “. For this, Google wants to make it more difficult to create extensions “ insecure, non-performing or at risk of compromising personal data “. And for that, one of the changes is “ Restriction of blocking capabilities [des requêtes HTTP] of the webRequest API .”

A Shouting Out

The main purpose of this change is improve the user experience since the analysis and blocking of these requests by a blocker like uBlock Origin can slow down the navigation. Some did not hesitate to be heard, like Raymond Hill developer of the ad blocker in question. He mentions his concern about the future possibility of blocking 100% of the cases encountered by ad blockers, and ultimately the very existence of his software.

This essentially means that both content blockers that I’ve been maintaining for years, uBlock Origin and uMatrix, will no longer exist.

An alternative

This does not mean that Google Chrome will no longer allow the existence of advertising blockers, far from it. Indeed, in their manifest, Chromium’s developers integrate a new alternative API, declarativeNetRequest which proposes to replace the blocking capabilities of webRequest more efficiently and “ offering better guarantees of privacy for users “. This allows the extension of “ tell Chrome what to do with a request rather than Chrome having to send the request to the extension “.

Still is that this new API is considered too restrictive by some, who claim in particular that the list EasyList would become inoperable

An uncertain future

Anyway, these changes are not yet applied to Chrome: the discussion is still open, and changes to this manifest could offer alternatives to blockers like uBlock. In any case, advertising blocking has become an element on which some browsers like Brave advertise and, at a time when privacy on the Net becomes a priority, Google could lose many market share by deciding to prevent such services, which will certainly make the developers think twice before making a decision too hastily.


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