Google 3 billion Chrome users now have a reason to switch to Firefox, as the privacy-focused browser just confirmed some big news. The announcement is about ad blockers, and changes google chrome dubbed Manifest V3, which may cause some ad blockers to break.
It’s been in the works for several years, but many Chrome users are concerned that their privacy-focused ad blocker add-ons aren’t working in Manifest V3.
Although Firefox has always been a viable alternative to Chrome, uncertainty over whether Firefox would also include the changes has kept many Google users from looking for an alternative. This may now change, as Firefox has publicly announced its approach to Manifest V3 means ad blockers will continue to work in its own browser.
WebRequest API support
In a blog post, Firefox owner Mozilla said it will maintain support for the WebRequest API blocking version in Manifest V3, which will keep more privacy-focused ad blocking extensions available. for its users. He wrote :
“One of the most controversial changes to Chrome’s MV3 approach is the removal of WebRequest blocking, which provides an essential level of power and flexibility to enable advanced privacy and content blocking features. Unfortunately this power has also been used to harm users in various ways, Chrome’s solution in MV3 was to define a narrower API (declarativeNetRequest) as a replacement. However, this will limit the capabilities of certain types of privacy extensions without adequate replacement.
“Mozilla will maintain WebRequest blocking support in MV3. To maximize compatibility with other browsers, we will also provide support for declarativeNetRequest. We will continue to work with content blockers and other key consumers of this API to identify current and future alternatives where appropriate. Content blocking is one of the most important use cases for extensions, and we’re committed to ensuring Firefox users have access to the best privacy tools available.
Chrome Manifest V3 Reviews
Google says changes to Manifest V3, including its overhaul of the permissions system by removing the blocking version of WebRequest, will increase security and privacy while improving performance. But some Chrome critics have noted that Manifest V3’s changes are more suitable for Google’s browser, since the tech giant’s business model is based on advertising.
So much so that EFF privacy advocates called Chrome’s Manifest V3 “misleading and threatening.”
Manifest V3 “is another example of the inherent conflict of interest that comes from having Google control both the dominant web browser and one of the largest advertising networks on the Internet,” the EFF said.
Ad blockers such as Ghostery have spoken out about how the changes will affect their extensions. Ghostery CEO Jean-Paul Schmetz told tech site the Verge: “While Google pushes a message of ‘privacy by design’ to the surface, it still asserts a monopoly over the entire ecosystem by smothering digital privacy companies that are already working to put users back in control of their data. »
Google emailed me a statement, which reads: “We are happy to see Mozilla supporting Manifest V3, which is intended to make extensions safer for everyone. These changes do not prevent extensions from blocking ads, but rather limit the amount of data these extensions can collect.
“Chrome supports and will continue to support ad blockers. We’re changing how network request blocking works because we’re making fundamental changes to how extensions work to improve the security and privacy features of our extensions platform. We’ve heard positive feedback from content blockers that they can deliver the kind of web experiences their users expect.
Switch from Chrome
Support for Manifest V2 ends in January 2023 and for enterprise users in June 2023, making this a good time to make the change. Switching from Chrome to Firefox is possible, and online guides are available showing you the best way to do it.
The only problem is that some tools are optimized for Chromium-based browsers, especially in a professional environment. Chromi’s Um-based Chrome alternatives include Brave, Microsoft Edge, Vivaldi, and Opera, but those browsers could also be forced to adopt Manifest V3’s changes in full.
For personal use, Firefox is definitely a viable alternative to Chrome. The browser includes a bunch of privacy-focused features, and it’s improving all the time.