Manifest Extenze Chrome V3 may interrupt the original uBlock Content Blocker

The Google Chrome development team is working on making some changes to Chrome Extensions that would end the functionality of ad blockers such as uBlock Origin and uMatrix if they are implemented as defined in the current document.

Enhancement options are limited by a mechanism called extension of the manifest, currently in version 2. In the next revision, Google plans to limit the webRequest API blocking capabilities that use these extensions.

Breaking down the content filtering feature

"In Manifest V3, we will try to limit the blocking version of WebRequest and potentially remove the blocking capabilities from most of the events (making them only observational.) Content-based blockers should instead use declarativeNetRequest," says the interim document.

This change would not apply to all instances of use and the functionality of webRequest may end in a certain form, the document states.

Raymond Hill developer says phasing out the "webRequest" API in favor of the "declarativeNetRequest" API would mean the death of uBlock Origin, its highly popular web content filtering application that employs more than 10 million users.

uMatrix, its next extension, which allows the user to define which class of web browser requests should be blocked, would share the same fate.

"If this (fairly limited) NetRequest API declares that it is the only way content content blockers can fulfill their obligation, it basically means that the two content blockers I have kept for years, uBlock Origin (" uBO ") and uMatrix, "says the Manifest v3 error tracking page.

One argument in favor of declarativeNetRequest as the primary content blocking API in extensions is that it works better. Another is that it offers better privacy protection because it allows extensions to inform Chrome about what to do with the request rather than the browser submitting an extension request. This way, extensions do not have access to network details.

Limit filtering

Hill explains that its extension is incompatible with the proposed declarativeNetRequest API because it allows only one particular filter, while uBlock Origin and uMatrix rely on various filtered designs to properly perform their work.

The proposed modification would support static filtering capabilities that are compatible with AdBlock Plus and reduce the number of filters to 30,000.

Hill lists an example of EasyList filters with rules for removing unwanted web content that is larger than 30,000 items and is not sufficient for filtering a modern user.

The rule set uses AdBlock Plus and uBlock Origin and is much larger than the limit set by "declarativeNetRequest".

Hill's comments remained unresolved by the developers, but they got the voice of the Chrome users who cracked it. Some of them say they should switch to another browser if it does, because it's in the final version of the manifest.

However, discussions are ongoing, and a draft document for manifest 3 states that declarativeNetRequest will function as a primary content blocking API in extensions. This suggests that secondary methods may be available.

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