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Your Ad Blocker in Google Chrome Might Stop Working Soon

About four years ago, Google announced that its Chrome browser will be moving from the current Manifest V2 extension platform to a new one called Manifest V3. Now, the latest update from the tech giant has pushed its timeline even further into its fifth year with the transition beginning in January 2023 and completing a year after.

ablock ad blocker chrome extension
Credit: AdBlock

Manifest V3 has courted some controversy since it was first announced due to the fact that it limits the abilities of ad blockers and browser extensions used to free up the clutter on most websites. Specifically, the change in how network request modifications work will result in ad blockers and other privacy extensions being forced to use raw lists of blocked URLs.

Most modern ad blockers use dynamic filtering rules through the webRequest API, which significantly delays load and render times for websites, something that Google is obviously keen to avoid. The problem with the new blocked list rule is that it limits extensions to 30,000 entries while a typical ad blocker can have upwards of 300,000 rules in its list, effectively breaking ad block extensions.

According to the published timeline, the company will start turning off support for Manifest V2 extensions in Canary, Dev and Beta channels next January in Chrome 112. By June 2023, Google will experiment with taking away support for the old extension platform for all channels, including the stable channels used by regular users — all Manifest V2 extensions will then be unlisted from the Chrome Web Store.

The good news for Enterprise users is that the company will keep V2 extension support going until January 2024. After which, Google will completely remove any remaining extensions that have not been updated from the store, completing the transition to Manifest V3.

For those who are heavy users of ad blockers on Google Chrome, the change could greatly limit how effective they are unless developers find a workaround. Popular ad-blocker AdGuard announced back in August that it had already published its V3-compatible extension, acknowledging that the new version is not as strong but adding that most users won't notice the difference.

Of course, if your ad blocking experience is actually affected by this change, you have the option to switch to an alternative browser — as undesirable as that might be. Most popular ad blocking extensions are already readily available on other mainstream browsers and some options, such as Brave and Opera, even have built-in ad blockers. Users of the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser will also feel the sting as it will also turn off support for V2 extensions next June.

  • Google Chrome will start its transition to Manifest V3 in January 2023 and complete the transition for most users the following June.

  • Enterprise users will still have Manifest V2 support until January 2024 but after which, all remaining V2 extensions will be removed from the Chrome Web Store.

  • With V3, ad blockers are limited to 30,000 rules for its raw list of blocked URLs, limiting their usage.

  • Microsoft Edge users will also be affected by the transition.

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